Sunday, December 16, 2007

Number 3 - Another great workshop at AUT

Sunday night and the weekend workshop at AUT has finished. I worked alongside Andre Lutzen from Hamburg and we spent the weekend with a small but perfectly formed group of talented individuals. It was a pleasure to meet Andre and see his edgy work and discover that we have so many friends internationally in common. Photography is indeed a very small world. Here is a picture of Andre (on the left), Leonhard Emmerling, Direcor of St Paul Street Gallery (on the right) and me in the middle.

Friday, December 7, 2007

St Paul Street Gallery opening Saturday December 15

I will show my CHINA STORY pictures at St Paul Street......along with Andre Lutzens Congo work. Leonhard Emmerling at St Paul Street Gallery writes, "Hamburg based photographer Andre Luetzen and Auckland based photographer Harvey Benge show new works. Harvey Benge shows CHINA STORY, images from his last voyage to China.
Andre Luetzen shows HEART OF DARKNESS, images from a trip on the River Congo in search of information about the mineral Coltan. The photographic essay is loosely based on Joseph Conrad's novel "Heart of Darkness" and explores the questions, whether something has changed since the era of colonization in the time of globalization.
Harvey and Andre will give a workshop on Saturday and Sunday, December 15 and 16 at St Paul Street Auckland.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Antidote to the city and northern winter

Auckland, Sunday morning. Drive to KareKare on the west coast 40 minutes from my house. This beach made famous for the location of the the film The Piano. Walking south around the headland to the brooding wetlands. No people, just the black sands, ancient cliffs and the boiling sea. Nothing could be further from concrete, steel and traffic, not to mention paralytic transport strikes on wet Parisian winter mornings. Sheltered under a tumbling rocky cliff face is this primaeval pool of dark water, home for generations of fallen pohutakawa trees, their branches locked in some death dance. Am I home?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Back from Paris....

Returned to Auckland last week having survived the advance of Northern Winter and Paris Photo with its abundance of ill conceived "decorative" photographs. Much to see however in the area of new books. Good to see at most times a 5 deep crush around the Schaden books stand. Launched A Short History of Photography with signings at Colette and Paris Photo. Several of the photographers included in my Short History were at Paris Photo so I took the opportunity to have them sign their page.
Rene Burri writes "some of us are luckier than others, you got a woman between 2 men - I had to "deal" with 4 men on a roof!!!". Martin Parr said, "In the hands of my lawyers" and Alec Soth, "If you really want to make an Alec Soth, sharpen up a bit and get those buildings straight, (now if only I could get the spontaneity of the couple in the background - hard to do with a one second exposure)". All are the pages.....

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

In Cologne in the rain....

Monday October 29. In Cologne today....grey and wet. Spent much of the day with Markus Schaden who probably has the worlds best purely photography book shop. Check out his site. Back Paris Wednesday, London Thursday, Paris again Saturday...then the life of
le flaneur...wandering the boulevards.Paris Photo opens November 14. I´ll do a book signing there along with Parr, Soth, Baltz, Gossage and just about every other photographer who has had a book published this photo to upload. Just think grey, rain...

Friday, October 12, 2007

The World is a perfect and beautiful place

When you look closely, long enough and hard enough and even sometimes at first glance, it's true, the World is a perfect and beautiful place.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Paris Photo opens November 15

Paris Photo 2007 : 11th edition
Special focus on Italian contemporary photography
Over the course of the decade since it first began, Paris Photo has won recognition as the world's premier art fair for still photography. This unique event offers an in-depth and broad view of the medium, with the best of art photography from the earliest days to the present time and a forward-looking survey of what's happening in this medium today.
From November 15th to 18th, 2007, the 11th edition will bring together 104 exhibitors (83 galleries and 21 publishers) from 16 countries. Seventy-seven percent of the participants come from outside France. Showcased at the fair will be the work of some 500 international photographers and artists from every continent. Wow!!!! I can't wait... see you there......

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Short History of Photography

My new book, A Short History of Photography, published in the UK by Dewi Lewis with an essay by Gerry Badger launches in London at The Photographers Gallery on Thursday November 1st at 6.30pm. I leave for Paris next week and willl be in London for the launch. Here are two images from the book...guess the photographers!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

China - Three Pingyao portraits

Here are three of the many portraits I made in Pingyao, a city so different from Shanghai and the people too I suspect.
I wonder about their stories......

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Stephen Shore on the diptych

Stephen Shore in his small but perfectly formed artist's book WITNESS NUMBER ONE comments. "...the form of the book adds one the subject, which is the relationship of the pictures to each other...A simple example is the diptych and why there are very few uninteresting diptychs...You can take two ordinary pictures and put them side by side as a diptych and...improve them both." So here is another, made in China.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

China - new diptychs

Here are four new diptychs from images I made in China last week. They speak for themselves. Or do they ?
You work it out!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

China - Robert Frank at Pingyao opening

This was the scene at the PIP Festival opening on the morning of Wednesday September 19 at Pingyao's Ancient County Magistrates Office. As it was last year the mood was electric, complete with fireworks, flags, banners, balloons, pidgeons, dancers, drum and cymbol musicians and more photographers with longer lenses than I've ever seen together in one place. Robert Frank opened the festival and here he is on stage......

Saturday, September 29, 2007

China Story PART 2

Back from 2 weeks in China! A week in amazing Shanghai and then to Pingyao for the festival, along with Robert Frank and 100,000 others. China as bizarre, strange, wonderful and captivating as ever. Made special by the friendly, smiling people.
Here are three new pictures, which tell only part of the story......

Monday, September 10, 2007

China revisited....

Back to China this week, to Shanghai and then to Pingyao for the PIP Festival. I'm told Robert Frank will be among the western visitors. Here are two pictures I made in Shanghai in September last year. This city is so strange and full of contrasts. Amazing!
I wonder why it took me a year to get back?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

$2 shop sticky strips and hearts.....

I gave my friend and artist, Sid, the dummy of my TEXT book with the request that she make some constructive observations.
The book came back with some amazing brain-flash insights written on day-glo $2 shop stickies. Re-photographed they make a work in their own right....Thanks Sid for helping to make a better work from me plus a new work from both of us......

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Harder not easier....

Somebody told me the other day that they had overheard a gallerist says that they didn't "get" my work. I took this as a great compliment and my resolve (as always) is to make work that is harder not easier. After all too much photography is made that doesn't rise above being "decoration" for the living room wall. So here are some new diptychs. Some of this and some of that.............. now you work it out.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Made this picture today.....

Sunday and spring is out there at last. Worked on my new portrait series editing and sequencing with a friend who has a fine mind and a good eye. Special! And still time to make this picture, thinking of Richter. What might he have done.....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Why is it we have a fixation on measurement? On performance. Measure this. Measure that. Height. Depth. Width. Breadth. Length. Light. Heavy. Deep. Shallow. Reaching.....and all the same in the end.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Auckland looking east - 7am Thursday August 9

Early morning. Early Bird. Getting lighter now each morning. Nice.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Auckland looking west - 3.06pm Wednesday August 8

Winter light. Wires. Red light. Red arrow. Stop. Clouds touched with rain. Band of cool infinite blue. Waiting.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Baghdad comes to Auckland

Today, Sunday, I shot some production stills for a music video for a band called The Symphony of Screams. My friends Phillip Peacock directed and Suzi Jowsey produced. Made me think about art imitating life and the reality of the terror in Iraq. Came home into my world past my local supermarket New World. How strange......

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lens Culture... new edition

Jim Casper has posted a new edition of Lens Culture. As always well worth a look.............. at
Here's a picture by Vee Speers from her Birthday Party series. Compelling.......

Shooting at last....

Why does the computer takes up so much time? When was the last time I made a photograph? Need a picture fix!
Here are two shot last night on a dull Auckland winters night as dusk descends......feels good!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Not In Arles

Talked last night to Jim Casper whom I knew was in Arles. As I suspected he is having fun in the sun and Arles is as wonderful as ever. I'm pissed to have missed the Lou Reid performance!! Jim told me Tina was not at the Rencontre this year, so I've just phoned her in Cologne. Seems Cologne weather is just like Auckland right now. Cold and wet. Reminded me of an early morning walk we had together along the Rhine after an all night celebration of my birthday back in July 2005. Here is a picture... grey and gloomy.... quite the opposite of my friends in Cologne!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

My House My Head - Bowen Galleries Wellington

Monday night in Wellington for the opening of My House My Head at Bowen Galleries.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cold winter morning here....

... but now past the longest day. Winter has set in. Far better to be somewhere in the South of France. Arles perhaps! Cold beer, friends, conversation. No rush. In the second picture, made from the terrace of my studio, the early morning wind drags at the flag on top the Catholic Bishop's Palace. No longer a palace but still the flag. And in the first, my studio and piles of work waiting. A good way to keep warm.......or at least forget about the cold.