|John Gossage at Paris Photo, John's book on the left and Alec's on the right.|
John had previously worked with Martin Parr where together they photographed in Memphis and from that joint venture produced the small but perfectly formed bookwork Obvious and Ordinary. I suggested to John and Alec that they might like to undertake a similar collaboration here in Auckland. Pleasingly they agreed. My worst nightmare was that Alec would bring his laborious 10x8 camera and John shooting with his Canon 5D, heading out to "make a book in a block." Fortunately Alec arrived with a brand new digital back Hasselblad. This was not without its problems however as Alec's first pictures turned out to be just jpegs, while John announced on the first day of shooting that already he'd made five good pictures. Could I detect a feeling of competition in the air?
I drove John and Alec all over Auckland, from harbour to volcanic cones. Fortunately they seemed to discover more than enough inspiration within a mile or so of my house, steadfastly disappearing separately after breakfast into the streets of Ponsonby and Grey Lynn, returning hours later. In the end John did make a book in a block and Alec went on record to say he only made one good picture in Auckland. Modest as ever.
Production and design of the book was left in John's hands and both Alec and I thought the book would turn out to be something similar to Obvious and Ordinary. Simple and to the point. Not so. At Paris Photo John had a few advance copies, I brought a copy back. All I can say is that the edition is superb, wonderful photographs, stunning design, and incredible production. John's work is in a case bound book of around 80 photographs and Alec's photographs are on a fold out poster tipped into a hard backed folder. Both held in a plastic slip case. In Alec's words a sort of Oblique and Ornate. Whatever you call it The Auckland Project is something very special.
|Alec's front of poster photograph|