This fine photograph by Wellington photographer Andrew Ross is currently hanging behind my desk in Photospace Gallery and attracting quite a lot of attention. It is one of a suite of photographs of the Peter McLeavey Gallery, 147 Cuba St, Wellington, taken just prior to the building's earthquake strengthening. The photo also features in Jill Trevelyan's biography 'Peter McLeavey: the life and times of a New Zealand art dealer' (Te Papa Press, Wellington, 2013).
Not to detract from the overall composition and sense of space and light in the photograph; a couple of details are worth noting:
- Peter McLeavey removed the gallery sign from the wall prior to the earthquake strengthening, to preserve it, revealing his own temporary sign, which he hand-wrote when he first moved into the building in the 1960s.
- Peter was sitting on the chair in the corner; but since the exposure was quite long - Andrew Ross shoots only with the existing light, so interior exposures can runs to several minutes - he must have stood up and walked off during the picture's taking. You can see a partial exposure of Peter on the chair.
Three prints of this photograph have so far been sold; one is in the McLeavey Family collection, one was recently sold to a private collector in Auckland, and Te Papa has one. The Te Papa print is actually a gold-toned Printing-Out-Paper (POP) contact print. The photograph area in this print is 4" x 5" (10cm x 12.5cm) as it is a contact print directly from the large-format negative. Andrew Ross was photographing on 5"x4" sheet film from 1997 till 2004, when he transitioned to 8"x10" sheet film.
Andrew's last POP prints were made around 2010, as production of the paper by its French maker ceased a few years before that, and there is no other manufacturer in the world. He is now printing on 'Amidol' contact printing paper, a silver-gelatin paper made by Michael Smith specially for contact printing medium and large format black & white negatives.
There are 34 Andrew Ross photographs in the Te Papa collection, which you can fine by going here and searching under his name.
Andrew Ross photographs are also in the collections of Sarjeant Gallery, The Dowse, The Auckland Art Gallery, and the Wellington City Council Archives, as well as in many significant private collections in New Zeal;and and abroad.