The New Zealand forest is evergreen and characterised by the density of its undergrowth of shrubs, lianes (vines) and ferns. On the forest floor the detritus and its associated mosses and lichens form a soft, thick litter layer. Small creeks and seepages clothed in mosses, lichens and liverworts and filmy ferns impart a softness, a stillness and dampness to our forests that is almost unique.
- J. T. Salmon 1997
I keep revisiting the native forest remaining in Wellington’s western suburbs looking for the scenes that seem to be characteristic of the New Zealand bush and continuing to notice new details.
Our bush depends for its lushness on rainfall evenly spread throughout the year. The capital has about 124 rainfall days a year. The rain provides a magical dimension to the scene and these photographs were all taken on wet days.
Landscape photography was once considered non-destructive to the environment – “take nothing but photos leave nothing but footprints”. But we have subsequently had the “Instagram effect” of people being keen to prove they have been to these places and in the process causing destruction to scenic spots while trying to capture the iconic photograph.
We see images online of people trampling wildflowers or overcrowding the spot that destroys the magic they seek to capture. The question for one who cares about the environment is should I still be taking photos at all? Are we leading to its destruction by photographing it? I try not to.
I do want to be able to capture not the great scenic spots of New Zealand but the extraordinary complexity of nature by photographing the ordinary. These are along the bush tracks - the spots you may have walked by taking the dog out for a walk. But they are worthy of a second look.
This is the view of a photographer, not a scientist. I hope that by looking in detail at these scenes you may see the need to support and care for wild spaces.
- Sue Guest, 2021
Sue Guest has exhibited at Photospace Gallery in group and solo exhibitions since 2015. This exhibition follows the theme of her 2017 exhibition 'Into the Everyday'. 'Rain Forest' is shown in conjunction with an exhibition by Rebecca Macfie - 'Night Shadows - a collection of photograms'.
Both exhibitions open on Thursday 3rd February, 5pm-7pm (a Vaccine Pass is required to attend the opening), and run till Saturday, 26th February, 2022.
Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 10am-3pm, Saturdays 11am-2pm, closed on Sundays and public holidays (closed Monday 7th February for Waitangi Day).
Photography Matters II