'Into the everyday: scenes from the Wellington bush'
How much does the unique landscape we live in form our character as a country? I have asked this question as I photographed these scenes from the bush taken in the western hills around Wellington.
Early European settlers found the sunless and impenetrable nature of the New Zealand bush oppressive and intimidating. Because it was evergreen it was seen as dark and monotonous. And it was damp. Fuelled by promises of a green and pleasant land they set about clearing the forests to recreate the more refined fields of England, with deciduous trees.
Nearly a hundred years ago, when much of the bush had already been lost, early conservation groups began working to save some of the flora and fauna.
Now the opportunity to walk in the bush is seen as a chance to refresh ourselves and get back to nature. As a community, we are trying to retain and restore the remnants of what was lost and the Council and friends groups are planting trees and forming networks to kill pests.
Bush on the hills forms part of the backdrop to the city. Even today, when you enter what remnants remain, the darkness and wildness is a strong presence.
“There isn’t much colour in New Zealand… In New Zealand a geological and meteorological darkness has crept down from the hills and the wet ferns and seeped into the everyday.”
- Murray Bail, Australian writer.
There is, I propose, an essence of this bush landscape in our New Zealand character: the darkness. After all, black with the silver fern is our most recognised national symbol. The darkness seeps into our character – into the everyday.
The photographs have been printed on Epson Traditional Photo Paper
(a Fibre Photo Paper Base of 300 gsm, a 13mil thickness and acid and lignin free) with Epson's UltraChrome HD ink.
Sue Guest is a Wellington based photographer. This is her first solo exhibition. She has exhibited in two group exhibitions at Photospace Gallery: 4 Photographers in 2015 and Prevailing Light in 2014. A number of works from her 2015 exhibition were purchased by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Sue Guest - 'Into the Everyday - Scenes from the Wellington Bush' - 9th June-3rd July 2017, Photospace Gallery, Wellington
Photography Matters II