Young Country is a fresh and engaging exhibition that brings together nineteenth-century photography and contemporary poetry to offer a new and often surprising view of New Zealand’s past.
The images are the work of William Williams, a Railways employee who photographed widely throughout New Zealand from 1881 until the 1940s. His outstanding photographs reflect the rawness of New Zealand’s landscape as well as its beauty, and offer intriguing portraits of family and friends at work, home and play. Kerry Hines has researched Williams’s work and written poems to accompany a selection of his photographs.
Uniquely, the exhibition presents the images in the form of contemporary albumen prints made specifically for the show by Wayne Barrar is an internationally recognised photographer and Associate Professor (Photography) at the School of Art, Massey University, Wellington. Williams’ principal archive, held by the Alexander Turnbull Library, consists mainly of negatives. On a few occasions albumen exhibition prints have been made overseas using ‘historic’ negatives, but it appears that Young Country may be the first time this has been done in New Zealand.
Kerry Hines is a New Zealand poet, writer and researcher whose work has been published in books and literary journals here and overseas. Young Country draws on her PhD in creative writing (Victoria University, 2012). The exhibition is accompanied by a book, Young Country (Auckland University Press, 2014). Development of the exhibition was supported by Mahara Gallery, Kapiti Coast. It is toured by Exhibition Services Ltd.