Note: there will be a gallery discussion around John Fields' work, with Peter F. Ireland & David Langman, Photospace Gallery at 1pm on Saturday 20th August .
This is the second exhibition of John Fields' photographs at Photospace Gallery, the first being 'Forty Years Ago Today' in November-December 2008, when John was still with us.
The many friends that John made throughout the world in his 50 year career as a photographer are very saddened that John lost a brief battle with cancer in early 2013. Photography has lost a gentleman, a consummate professional and an exemplary advocate of the medium.
John Fields - artist bio
John Fields’ (1938-2013) photographs have been exhibited in shows around the Eastern U.S.A (including co-exhibiting with Harry Callahan at the prestigious Carl Siembab Gallery in Boston). He was active in the creative photographic group PhotoForum, and was a former president of the group. Fields was the first recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council grant for photography, in 1975, for his study of the goldfield town of Thames, New Zealand.
He is co-author of the book Victorian Auckland (1973) with noted historian and architect, John Stacpoole. Fields also directed Victorian Auckland (1973) a film screened on TV. He produced the publication, A Visual Dialect (1971), illustrating the work of ten New Zealand photographers. Aside from regular exhibitions in Auckland with PhotoForum, his work was exhibited in the most important exhibition of NZ photography at the time, The Active Eye: Contemporary New Zealand Photography, (Manawatu Art Gallery) which toured to 12 venues throughout NZ from 1975 to 1976.
Galerie Langman began showing his work in 1998; many works entering into Te Papa’s collection at that time, as well as Sarjeant Gallery Wanganui. Te Papa further bolstered its holdings of his work with the acquisition of 12 additional photographs in 2006. With a recent acquisition of another ten prints the national collection now holds around 36 works by John Fields. Fields was both highly regarded and influential during the time he worked in New Zealand between 1966-76. His photographs were used by the University of Auckland Elam School of Fine Arts to instruct students in photography. These vintage photographs, although made between 40-48 years ago are very fresh due to the exceptionally high standards that Fields employed. In most cases the number of photographs made from each negative is in the single figures and less than half a dozen. This makes them beautiful, affordable but valuable.
His Bed, Union Street is illustrated in Art at Te Papa (2007). Whether he was making a photograph of an E-type Jaguar outside a Kiwi pub or making a nature study alongside a country stream, Fields work is notable for exceptional clarity and precise tonal balance - all achieved prior to Photoshop and digital enhancement was thought of.
In retirement Fields exhibited photographic works in New Zealand, and taught and lectured at tertiary level, both in Australia and New Zealand.
His work is held in private collections throughout New Zealand, Australia and USA; the principal holdings are in the Auckland Art Gallery (the plates from Victorian Auckland, 140 works) and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (around 25 works) and Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui. Athol McCredie, Curator of Photographs, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, notes.
"… For example, over the last two or three years we’ve strengthened our holdings of Gary Baigent, Richard Collins and John Fields, seminal photographers of the late 60s-early 70s."
- Interview, May 2007.
These vintage photographs, although made between 33-40 years ago are very fresh due to the exceptionally high standards that Fields employed. In most cases the number of photographs made from each negative is in the single figures and less than half a dozen. This makes them both beautiful and valuable, but affordable.
See all documentation for this exhibition
* all works unless otherwise stated are silver gelatin, archivally printed original vintage photograph.
Links to other John Fields photographs in the Te Papa collection:
(Note: there are 34 photographs currently in the Te Papa collection, but the links below are for the ones that are currently illustrated on the Collections area of their website. Use the Advanced Search function, selecting John Fields as the Maker.)
Vandalised War Memorial, Auckland
D. Scott’s lounge. From the series: Signature
Helvie, Mt Eden, Auckland
Stove, Union St. Auckland
Bed, Union St., Auckland
Brian Boru Hotel, Thames
Fijian firewalker at Milne & Choyce store, Auckland
Brian Boru Hotel, Thames
Claudia and Bridget Eyley, Auckland, 1973
Firth of Thames
Oneroa Beach, Waiheke, 1969
Father and daughter, East Cape
E-type Jaguar and Central Hotel, Auckland
Volcanic Plateau, Tongariro National Park, 1969
Railway Station, Te Aroha
The Saint, Route 12 near Maungatoroto, Northland
Silos, Route 12 near Paparoa, Northland
USS Enterprise, near Thames
Rear of Magistrate’s Court, Auckland
Wash house, Horoeka Avenue, Mt Eden, Auckland
Flats and couple, Panmure.