Walking in New Zealand (photographs)

Some years ago I spent a couple of weeks driving around the South Island of New Zealand in a rented car. I was following the fictional journey of three ghosts. I won’t say anymore about the underlying concept since I never finished the written portion of the overall project. I did, however, produce a visual record of the trip. I lugged around a heavy, old-fashioned, medium format camera (with a determined sense of anachronism), taking photos in, for example, Christchurch, Arthur’s Pass and Punakaiki. I took some of my best images on the Avalanche Peak walk (Arthur’s Pass), which starts just behind the park visitor’s centre and then heads up very steeply for some two thousand metres or so to the summit of a low alpine peak. Looking back, the point of all this, for me, is that the walking was oriented towards an imaginative idea. It was a real means of discovering the contours and scenography of a fictional narrative. It involved actual walking, but the experience was directed towards something else – towards realising an image that was to be positioned elsewhere. Quite simply, art took precedence – the activity of walking was justified in terms of the interests of art. Nothing wrong with this as such. If anything it lent the walking a sense of illicit pleasure, which if placed in a more primary position it possibly may have lost.

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