Event: Saturday, 23rd January 2021, Murray Cammick will spin some discs in the gallery, from noon till 3pm - a themed selection of period tunes to mark the last day of his Flash Cars exhibition
Photospace Gallery is pleased to present Murray Cammick's exhibition of 1970s photographs 'Flash Cars'.
The exhibition preview will be on Thursday 12th November 5pm to 7.30pm - the last gallery function here this year - with the exhibition running from 13 November to 23rd January.
During this period, the gallery will be closed from 24th December to 10th January and will reopen with normal hours on 11th January. I will be in Wellington during most of the break and can arrange viewing by appointment.
Murray Cammick's 'Flash Cars' in PhotoForum NZ magazines, Aug-Sept 1975 and Aug-Sept 1977
Murray Cammick Photo spread and article in Hot Rod New Zealand May 1977 edition
Murray Cammick video interview for 'Flash Cars' by Hans Weston Films
In 1974, while still a student at Elam School of Fine Art, Cammick began photographing people and their V8 cars as they congregated late at night in Auckland’s Queen Street. The city’s main street contained boring banks, office buildings and aging department stores that were all closed by 5.30pm. At night there were a few bars that closed at 10pm and the rare late-night club that opened as the evening movie theatre patrons headed home.
Queen Street was then taken over by the drivers of the rapidly diminishing fleet of New Zealand assembled V8 cars – some were old and barely road worthy – all were gas-guzzling dinosaurs as petrol prices sky-rocketed. Queen Street was their place to park-up or cruise. They didn’t have the place entirely to themselves – there were also transvestites wandering from their downtown bar to the mid-town nightclubs. By 1977 the street had a few punks and a new McDonalds restaurant.
While he documented the V8s, his mode of transport was a small Morris Minor that he politely hid in a side street. Cammick was a shy and naïve 20 year old when he first took photographs in Queen St and revellers would see his highly-visible SLR camera and hassle him to – “take our photo!” – unaware that they were giving the quiet photographer the opportunity he was looking for. They were 100% into it, as it was their idea to take the photo.
The scene was about the over-sized 1950s and 1960s Ford, Chevrolet, Cadillac cars but inevitably the odd British “toy” slips into view at times – smaller cars with names like Zephyr and Anglia. As the new decade started, the Queen Street V8 scene faded, Cammick’s photos are sometimes of a single car, moving through the bleak environment, looking for a scene that is no longer there. The dark, empty street has a character of its own and starts to take over the images.
When Cammick ended his involvement with Rip It Up magazine in 1998, he set out to do a series of photographic exhibitions but was thwarted by the digital takeover of photography and the realisation that key negatives from his Flash Cars series were missing – last seen in the 1980s. In mid-2014, the missing negatives were found, allowing a comprehensive exhibition to be undertaken. Jenny Tomlin, a specialist in the field of silver-gelatin printing, has made the new prints for the show.
Selections from Flash Cars were exhibited in exhibitions at Snaps Gallery, Auckland in 1976 and 1977 and have also been included in group exhibitions including The Active Eye (Manawatu Art Gallery 1975), Drive (Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth 2000) and 40 Years of Photo-Forum (2014).
In 1977 Cammick, along with Alastair Dougal established Rip it Up, an independent music magazine which quickly gained traction with local bands and enthusiasts of the local music scene. Rip It Up’s support of the nascent punk and new wave scene and for iconic New Zealand labels such as Propeller Records and Flying Nun records saw the magazine become a seminal influence on the New Zealand music scene. Cammick photographed the local music scene for Rip It Up and continued to take photographs in Queen Street after gigs, but the V8 car scene faded away as the inner city evolved – no longer the late night wasteland that played host to a sub-culture that created their own small town in Texas or mini-Havana in the South Pacific.
Murray Cammick was born in 1953 and currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand, where he maintains his interest in popular culture and music as a contributor to AudioCulture “The Noisy Library of New Zealand Music” and as the presenter of his long-running radio show, Land Of the Good Groove which currently airs on 95bFM. His Queen Street photographs are included in the photography collection of Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand.
1975 – The Active Eye – Manawatu Art Gallery
1976 – Flash Cars – Snaps Gallery, Auckland
1977 – More Flash Cars – Snaps Gallery, Auckland August 1 to 20.
1980 – Pop-Shots Show – Closet Artists Gallery, Auckland
1981 – Pop-Shots Show No.2 – Closet Artists Gallery, Auckland
1998 – Folklore: The New Zealanders – Artspace, Auckland 8 July to August 1.
1998 – Folklore: The New Zealanders – Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui 10 Oct - 22 Nov.
2000 – Drive – Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth 2000.
2014 – History in the Taking: 40 Years of Photo-Forum – Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland.
2015 – Flash Cars – Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney 11 April to May 9
2015 – PhotoForum Show – Pingyao International Photography Festival 2015, Pingyao Ancient City, Shanxi Province, China 19 Sept to Sept 25
2015 – History in the Taking: 40 Years of Photo-Forum – Wellington City Gallery 14 March to 14 June.
2015 – History in the Taking: 40 Years of Photo-Forum – Dunedin Public Art Gallery 22 Aug to 15 Nov.
2016 – Flash Cars – The Black Asterisk – Ponsonby Rd, Auckland August 3 to 31
2017 – AK 75•85 (music photos) – Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney 4 March to April 1
2017 – AK 75•85 – The Black Asterisk – Ponsonby Rd, Auckland
2019 – Queens St – The Black Asterisk – Ponsonby Rd, Auckland May 31 to June 16.
2020 – Flash Cars – Franklin Arts Centre, Pukekohe, June / July
2020 – Flash Cars – Photospace Gallery, 13 Nov to 13 Jan 2021.
Into The Light: A History Of New Zealand Photography (2006) David Eggleton, Craig Potton Press.
Art Of Te Papa (2009) Edited by William McAloon, Te Papa Press.
Live (2010) New Zealand Concerts Edited by Bruce Jarvis & Josh Easby, Hurricane Press.
New Zealand Photography Collected (2014) by Athol McCredie, Te Papa Press.
PhotoForum at 40: Counterculture, Clusters, and Debate in New Zealand (2015) by Nina Seja, Rim Books / PhotoForum.
HOLIDAY PERIOD: Photospace Gallery will re-open on Monday 11th January, 2021. In the meantime, if you are visiting Wellington and would like to view the 'Flash Cars' exhibition, please email James Gilberd for an appointment - firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography Matters II