Andrew Ross - a UK whare
This photograph is from a series of 'travel photos' taken in England in 2008 by Andrew Ross, using a medium format Rolleicord camera (2 1/4" inches square, not his usual 8"x10") for its portability. It is not the only photo of this whare, (Maori house) by a major New Zealand photographer, but it is possibly the most charming. (Mark Adam's magnificent photo diptych 13.11.2000, Hinemihi, Clandon Park, Surrey, 2000 is illustrated on pages 18-19 of Pictures They Want to Make - see my review in this blog. The Adams prints are in colour, and large scale, whereas Andrew Ross's was printed about eight inches square, a silver-gelatine darkroom print. It was exhibited at Photospace in September, 2009. See Andrew Ross - England Photographs for more images from this series.)
The England photos managed to meet the tough Photospace Gallery criteria for travel photographs: If your photographs fall into the general categories of Travel, Scenic Landscape, or Close-ups of Nature, they will have to be extraordinarily good to merit an exhibition! (And it is perhaps worth mentioning that similar sets of photographs taken in the US and Canada by the same photographer did not meet the criteria.)
The photos, taken squarely (pardon the photographic pun) in this century, look like something out of a bygone era - actually, but not strangely, like most of Andrew Ross's photographs. The rural landscapes, in particular, look like scenes Beatrix Potter would have drawn inspiration from. He has an eye for the past existing in the present, for sure; but in these England photos the scenery and buildings would seem to have a stable enough future. By contrast, his photos taken in New Zealand capture the more fragile and less protected history of this much younger country. The wrecking ball is too often swinging in from just outside the frame.
I won't repeat the extraordinary story behind this Maori building coming to be in Surrey, as its history can be found here on the National Trust site, in this Wikipedia article, and elsewhere.
Photography Matters II