A First World Problem: Wall art poverty

Mt Taranaki by moonlight, from Wortley Rd. The lights of Inglewood shine below.

An unexpected First World Problem has been developing in western countries in recent years. It is an odd one, to be sure, and some might say it’s a “Giraffe in the Room” (the elephant needs a day off every so often). This is it: Considering the billions of images we now take every month on our cameras and smartphones, where can we see any of these photos?

Certainly not on our walls, as even my own have been bereft of recent imagery. Why are we taking so many photos when so very few get to be printed, and still fewer get framed or pinned up somewhere? Why isn’t all this great creativity on display for all to see – such as on the walls at home, your house and mine? I call this the problem of Wall Art Poverty, a serious middle class malaise, perhaps not fatal but surely damaging to ours souls, which according to Picasso need daily nourishment*.

We seem to be stonkered by the deluge of pixels captured on our marvellous little machines. What to choose to show, and how do you present it? These are the questions I have been asking myself too, as I prepare a first selection of my photographs to offer as fine art prints. The above is the image I began this blog with, in 2010. It graced the cover of my first calendar, and will be one of the images featured in my first offer of fine art prints.

Stay tuned!

* Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life– Pablo Picasso (attrib.)

Modest Epiphanies: A drizzly afternoon

A drizzly afternoon, Collingwood, Nelson. 12.36pm, 12 December 2011

So this must be New Zealand – with rain-enhanced corrugated iron, two fat lambs and a cabbage tree to prove it. This apparently rustic scene presented itself as I waited for my womenfolk outside a chocolate boutique on Beach Rd. It features as August in my Modest Epiphanies 2019 Calendar. See my earlier posts for more info and pics of my other 2019 calendar Vintage New Zealand.

[Offer now expired, but see link below] 

Shop 2019 calendars

 

 

 

 

Vintage NZ: Wedding group, Golden Bay

Wedding group, Golden Bay, about 1914. [D. Manson, photo]
This unusual line-up was probably taken in Takaka; the attribution to L. Darcy Manson (1885-1947) is only by association. It’s the December image in my Vintage New Zealand 2019 Calendar, a novel collection of unpublished outdoor images. See my post of 22nd August for a special offer on this first-ever production, which expires soon (Friday, 7th September).

Hats were big in 1914, and gloves were still part of formal wear for men (and were always so for women, until the late 1960s). Here we have an unknown couple (no spring chickens), groom’s man (best man), bride’s maid and flower girl in an impromptu studio set-up. Verandahs were often used for group photographs, sometimes with a sheet tacked up as a backdrop, but we don’t often see a carpet brought into the act.

The image has been scanned from the original full plate. The tonal range from bridal whites to dark suits is a long one and not completely captured here. The photographer has possibly allowed the generous margin around the group so that postcards could also be supplied, direct from the glass plate. By 1914  manufacturers produced pre-printed postcard blanks, so that anyone with a darkroom could make their own Post Office-approved cards. As these were smaller than full plate size, the images were inevitably cropped when reproduced as postcards.

Modest Epiphanies: Low tide at Marahau

Low tide at Marahau, Nelson. 1.05pm, 4 April 2012

The freedom of the sands! This image is for January in my Modest Epiphanies 2019 Calendar. Although taken in autumn, it is very evocative of summer on the granitic beaches of Abel Tasman National Park. The two islands in the background (at left is a headland) are within the Park boundary but Marahau, the main gateway, is just outside it. Abel Tasman NP is a very popular venue each summer for daytrippers, hikers and kayakers.

The calendar previews photos for a projected book of the same name, and subtitled: Deeper meanings in the New Zealand landscape. See earlier posts for details on a special offer on both my calendars for 2019; this expires on Friday, 7th September. Both calendars are now available for purchase.

1/1250th sec at f16. Nikon 85mm; ISO 2000

Vintage NZ: Young girl with poodle

Young girl with poodle, location unknown, c. 1920

This is the June image from my new Vintage New Zealand 2019 calendar; see previous posts for a special offer on this publication. The calendar draws on my own small collection of historical photographs. Very few of the photo prints and glass plates that have come my way have any documentation, so for most we must rely on internal evidence – also known as what’s-in-the-photo, and usually a case of one picture being worth a thousand words.

A simple, back garden image, this has already had favourable comment. It has only lately dawned on me that this young girl may well be related to the youngsters on the calendar cover, as there is a familial likeness with the cover girl, especially. The picture is a hard one to date accurately, and the clues I have used are her hair style (from 1915? Ribbon is earlier) and the patterns printed near her neckline (1925?).  The Bentwood chair is a nice touch considering the rough exterior of the house behind, but is no help in establishing a date, as its design goes back to the 1860s.

The diagonal streak on the left side most likely indicates chemical contamination as the plate was moved from developer bath to fixer solution, in processing. It is not uncommon to see ancient fingerprints and tong marks on early photos, caused by poor handling in developing, but whether such defects relate to the negative or only the print isn’t easily answered without a good look at the original negative. In this case, it’s on the plate.

 

Winter rainbow, Otaki Marae

Winter rainbow, Otaki Marae, Wellington. 4.49pm, 5 July 2012

An image from my Modest Epiphanies 2019 calendar, now at the printers.  The title is taken from my next book, still in preparation, and from which the calendar pictures are a sample.

An epiphany is defined as a moment of revelation or profound realisation, but my photo project only aspires to a modest attainment of this, specifically in relation to the visual understanding of my own country. Thus the subtitle, Deeper meanings in the New Zealand landscape. Yes, there are deeper meanings, or perhaps deeper appreciations of our singularity, both in the big picture and in small details. All of which say the same thing: “This must be New Zealand”.

See my previous post for the special pre-release offers on the TWO calendars we now have close to publication.

1/500th sec at f11. Nikon 85mm; ISO 1000

New 2019 Calendars – Early Bird offers

Modest Epiphanies 2019 Calendar Back Cover
Modest Epiphanies 2019 Calendar Back Cover

These are back-cover glimpses of my new 2019 wall calendars, soon to be published. See my previous post for front cover views, and scroll down for more information about special pre-release offers on these short-run editions.

Vintage New Zealand 2019 Calendar Back Cover
Vintage New Zealand 2019 Calendar Back Cover

The full title of my 11th photo calendar is Modest Epiphanies: Deeper meanings in the New Zealand landscape. The 13 images by day and night are a sample from my forthcoming book of the same name, celebrating the distinctive detail and limber lines of this unique country. Notes on the photos and the year-at-a-glance are at the front.

In the same A4 format is an entirely new (old?) calendar: Vintage New Zealand: Authentic photos from our past has 13 original photos from 1890-1937, selected for their charm and artistic merit. I supply notes on the photos at the start, plus a year-planner page for 2019.

Take advantage of our early bird specials, buy your New Zealand 2019 calendars here.

Something useful – and giftable: At just under 200g, with mailing envelope within, the calendars are post-friendly. They have plenty of space for appointments and occasions, making them useful as well as attractive gifts. Small edition status means they are really boutique items, with limited retail availability.

So you have travel plans?? If you are driving or flying any time from now till the New Year, my calendars are light and easily packed. They make great gifts for your intended hosts, for family and friends, or for business associates. Or you can put them away until the holiday season and rest easy, with that little task neatly covered. Peace of mind at a good price!

Special Early Bird offers: Order your 2019 calendars at a special price now. Normally $18.50 each, these are available direct from the publisher at $13.50 each, post-free – a saving of $5!

Or you can order one of each, a pair for $25, again post-free.

Or you can order six mixed calendars (any ratio) for $70, all up. $11.67 each!!

N.B. Offers expire on 7th September 2018. Orders will be posted in the first week of September.

Available only to NZ and Australian addresses (for Australian orders, please see below).

AUSTRALIAN ORDERS: Prices are in New Zealand currency. Single orders are available at the same price ($13.50), but the higher postage costs to Australia add an extra $10 to the pair offer and $12.50 to the mixed six offer. The extra postage cost will be shown when you order through Shopify.

Buy Calendars

September sees two new NZ calendars

Modest Epiphanies 2019 Calendar Front Cover

September sees springtime arrive in Nelson, New Zealand – such a relief after the short, chilly days of winter. September will also see “Early bird” editions of my two new calendars for 2019, ably produced by daughter Yana Brewster, in Wellington.  One showcases my own photos, under the title Modest Epiphanies: Deeper meanings in the New Zealand landscape (as above). It’s a wee preview from my forthcoming book of the same name.

The other calendar is in the same A4 format but it’s something completely new. Called Vintage New Zealand: Authentic photos from our past (as below), this is a lovely compilation, full of historical and human interest. The old but unpublished images all come from my own collection, and I supply curatorial notes on them at the front.

More details will be posted shortly – these will include special pre-release offers for the new calendars (of particular benefit to people with travel plans), plus a glimpse of the 12 images within each.

So yes, there’s still another year to come after this one. However, and as a certain Persian Sufi poet has wisely noted, we can be sure that “This too will pass”. Let’s hope for a happy ending, all the same.

Vintage NZ 2019 Calendar Front Cover

 

Now how did you do that??

Night textures at Paritutu, New Plymouth

This image, from my new book Perfect Evenings, has caused some furrowed brows as to how it was done. Although the shadows suggest the background must be a screen of some sort, the effect was actually achieved entirely in-camera. I used a telephoto (85mm) lens, so a shallow focus is inherent in the composition, but the clue is in the signature lighting: my flash initiated the 30 second exposure.

Of course the flash could only light up the lush foreground, so straight after it I rotated the lens barrel, bringing the background into better focus for the remainder of the exposure.  The  odd plant “shadows” are actually new silhouettes, showing that the foreground was drastically re-positioned by the extension of the lens that the change in focus required. Simple!

SIGNED gift copies of the new book can be sent direct on your behalf to any address in NZ for $NZ50, or to Australia for $NZ60 (air mail only, surface post no longer available). Payment can be made by direct credit or by cheque. Why not email me today: barneybrewster@xtra.co.nz

A nice offer: Free calendar with new book

My Perfect Evenings calendar is available again. Here’s a nice offer: I will send one free with every purchase of my new book of the same name, for the usual retail: $NZ50, post-free to the one address within NZ. Offer applies only while the calendar reprint lasts!

Below are further sample pages from the new book, which is now halfway through its modest print run. The images are supplemented with a good introduction, while a technical section at the back explains some finer points for the curious.

“Best book of pics yet. I love it. Some really good ones for referencing when I’m painting too.” – H.M., New Plymouth

Perfect Evenings: New book now available

SAMPLE IMAGE: Tiny cattle at Te Mata peak, Hawkes Bay

My new photo book is now out. Looking good in just a small edition, it’s yours to purchase for $NZ50, post-free. Or I can send a signed copy as a gift on your behalf to anywhere in New Zealand (or to  Australia for $A55 or $NZ60), with a gift card enclosed. The season approaches!

Perfect Evenings is in landscape format, in laminated softcovers with spine title;  21 x 27.7cm; 92 pages; 75 colour images; 4,500 words.

New book: Perfect Evenings (in press)

Sample page 20, Perfect Evenings

These two sample pages form a spread in my forthcoming book. The first is a surreal New Plymouth scene which makes good use of colour balance settings. The second scene is from Cambridge, using a more conventional colour balance. In my introduction I make the point that colour balance settings are an essential part of creative control with mixed lighting sources, which are so common to evening photography.

Sample page 21, Perfect Evenings

New book coming: Perfect Evenings

NEW BOOK: Front and back cover

My new photography book, Perfect Evenings: The joy of long exposures, is now being printed in Wellington. Read on for my special pre-publication offer.

Perfect Evenings: Sample spread, pages 22-23

Completing the long exposure work first published in my Night Visions, this is a new sequence of luminous landscapes from the North and South Islands. Taken by twilight, moonlight, street light and starlight, the images are colourful, highly textured and often surreal. Be enchanted, edified and entertained!

Perfect Evenings aims to instruct as well as to inspire, and an introduction covers topics such as the advantages of twilight, the full colour of moonlight, the role of celestial mechanics and opportunities offered by the passage of time. A technical section has useful advice; notes on selected photos are also provided. Although this only scratches the surface, the information is not readily available in a New Zealand context.

Perfect Evenings is the first New Zealand exposition on long exposure photography, now a popular pursuit overseas. A fresh take on the great NZ landscape, the book will appeal to lovers of landscape and students of design and colour, and have special interest for photographers keen to explore new avenues.

Special pre-publication offer: $40, post-free in NZ. Buy direct from me and save 20% on the usual retail ($50). OFFER NOW CLOSED.

Perfect Evenings is in softcovers; 21 x 27.7cm (landscape format); 92 pages; 75 images; 4,500 words. Edition of 100 copies only.

New Zealand orders – Payment by cheque or DC: 

B.M. Brewster  030703 – 0370438 – 000.

           [Australian orders are in Australian dollars; $10 extra postage is required.           A payment request will be sent from Paypal]

May 2018 in new Perfect Evenings calendar

Quiet night at Kurow, North Otago

Another sample from my 2018 New Zealand calendar, this one is for May 2018. The holiday park at Kurow was decidedly off-season on the cold autumn night that we stayed there. A bitter, blustery wind was blowing but I coated up and left our snug cabin with tripod and gear, determined to make use of the wan moonlight in such an interesting setting – and was then pleasantly surprised to find that down by the river was quite sheltered. From the several hours I  spent on the terraces, covering many angles on the deserted camp, this pic has emerged as a favourite. A second, quite different scene from this frigid outing also features in my upcoming Perfect Evenings photo book.

Monday 2nd October is the last day for my extra special prices on this 2018 calendar, post-free for NZ & Australia. There are still about 20 left – so why not purchase and enjoy?!

 

August 2018 in new calendar: Magnolia bud

Magnolia bud at night, New Plymouth

This is a sample illustration from my long exposure Perfect Evenings 2018 New Zealand calendar. Magnolia flowers are a welcome sight in the southern spring, appearing from July to September, depending on the species and local climate. By moonlight or street light they are even more luminous and lovely than by day.

Printed in just a small edition of 125, most of my calendars have now sold at the special early bird prices quoted in the last post. The three for $30 deal and 5 + 1 for $60 have been very popular. There’s obviously good interest – not to mention good sense – in having giftable items on hand well before the usual rush, especially when so many New Zealanders are taking to the air (and the road) and require packable items for their calls and hosts.

All prices are post-free within NZ and Australia. My best-ever, these prices are current until Monday 2nd October, and will not be repeated. By that time  the entire stock will probably be spoken for, and any reprint considered will have to be at standard prices. These will still be good value, however, with various extras offered, in addition to the photographer’s own prompt and personal service!

2018 New Zealand calendar now available

Perfect Evenings 2018 New Zealand Calendar: Back Cover

My new calendar is a colourful compilation from many evening forays in the great New Zealand landscape. Those excursions aren’t always perfect but even my last one, featuring mainly low cloud, had its highlights (see my recent posts). Many evenings initially seem unpromising but a bit of effort, two gumboots and four wheels usually lead to a rewarding outing.

So I’ve been inspired to create a new calendar for 2018, and invite you to enliven the year-to-come with something interesting – if not stirring: Perfect Evenings. In the same format as my previous calendars, the calendar has 13 all-new full colour landscapes, and a big grid for each month. It comes with an A4 letter-rate posting envelope. Presentable and useful, it makes a great gift.

Now available at an extra special price for the next 14 days:  $12.50 each,  post-free within NZ and Australia.

Or how about even-better prices for multiples (to same address, also post-free): Two calendars $21; Three for $30; Four for $37.50.

Wow! But wait: Five for $50 + 1 free calendar = 6 calendars for $50!!

SPECIAL Early bird PRICES, available until 5pm Monday 2nd October 2017: These will not be repeated!

NZ orders – Payment by cheque or direct credit: 

B. M. Brewster  030703 – 0370438 – 000

Australian orders – in $A currency; a payment request will be sent to you from Paypal. Overseas orders – please inquire.

P.S. The images have been selected from a new photo book of the same name, out soon, which wraps up my long exposure photography.

2018 Calendar: Perfect Evenings

My 2018 calendar is at the printer in Wellington and should be available within the week. The new calendar is a lovely selection from my forthcoming book of the same name: Perfect Evenings, and is in the same postable format as my previous calendars. An easy gift! September isn’t too early if you are flying anytime soon, or like to get organised before the rush. More on price and other details shortly.