There’s more to Craig Potton Publishing than Nicky Hager’s must-read The Hollow Men, you know. Southern Man David Eggleton speedily answers ALEXANDER BISLEY’s questions about his handsome, recommended tome Into the Light: A History of New Zealand Photography.


Is Marti Friedlander’s photo of Fomison and Clairmont the closest art work New Zealand has to The Absinthe Drinkers?

I’ll go along with that.

I love the Glenn Jowitt photo of the Cook Island dancers. What is the middle woman thinking?

There’s lots of joy and excitement in that image and she personifies that.

How important is Laurence Aberhart to New Zealand photography?

He’s the Caspar David Friedrich of New Zealand photography.

How important is Joanna Paul to New Zealand photography?

She’s the Virginia Woolf of New Zealand photography.

As a noted reviewer, how do you feel waiting for reviews of your book?

Practised at patience.


What is the role of a reviewer?

Opinion, opinion, opinion — backed up by evidence.

How much is the spiritual power of a McCahon lost in digital photography?

In terms of spiritual power, it’s like pitting a wind farm against a hydro sub-station. Given that McCahon is predigital, and not a photographer, his analogue medium loses more authenticity, but then all transmission distorts and is transformed by the degree of recession which is nowadays the responsibility of the actual user: so between nil and 100%.

The theory that only Maori should photograph Maori— as for example Ans Westra’s work disproves — is pernicious isn’t it?

It’s as pernicious as the theory at the beginning of the twentieth century that Maori were dying out, and photographed as such.

Where to next for you?

I’m already there: writing a short guide to twentieth century art made by New Zealanders.

Where to next for New Zealand photography?

Beyond the black rainbow to blue sky thinking.