|Helvi, Mt Eden Auckland, 1970|
My friend and photographer John Fields died this Monday last at his home in Australia, Guyra NSW. I'd first met John here in Auckland sometime in the 60's. It was in the photobook crowded living room of PhotoForum founder John Turner where photo buzz flowed as easily as the wine. John Fields struck me as an affable, easy going sort of man, with a razor sharp refined eye, yet modest in talk of his achievements. I admired him as both a man and a photographer of depth. He opened my eyes to the limitless possibilities of photography.
John Fields was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1938. He arrived here in Auckland in 1966 to take up a position at the University of Auckland’s medical school.
Undaunted by the cultural vacuum that prevailed at the time, John photographed prodigiously, working in both 35mm and 5x7 and 10x8 view camera formats. Through his open-hearted generosity John did much to raise the standards of photography in New Zealand. In 1973 his collaboration with the architectural historian John Stacpoole, Victorian Auckland, was published and is a major achievement.
John moved to Sydney, New South Wales, where he taught workshops at the Australian Centre for Photography, then became Chief Photographer at the Australian Museum. In 1987, living in Armidale, NSW, he became Photographer-in-Charge at the Media Resources Unit of the University of New England.
John was a great traveler. Back and forth from Australia. Often back to Thames in the Coromandel, a place he loved where in the 60's and 70's he'd photographed the town and its gold mining past. More often than not John would end up at my place with a bottle or two of head ripping Aussie red and banter about our work and the photoworld.
John was a lively letter writer too. In his last letter to me dated January 3, he talked of his pleasant family Christmas, moments of madness and his plans for 2013.
His inscription to me in his Victorian Auckland book reads, To Harvey, One who knows and understands the sense of journey. In truth, it was John who understood the sense of journey more than most. John my friend, wherever you are, you will be missed.
|Father and daughter, East Cape, 1969|
|Sawyer House, Brown Street, East Side, Thames, 1973|
|133 Dominion Road, Auckland, 1974|
|John Allen, Rangitoto, Auckland, 1974|