This stunning book is a photographic and personal journey through New Zealand. Starting in the far north, Kieran Scott's photographs are grouped regionally and move south through the country, taking the reader on a trip that showcases New Zealand's endless variety.
The visual journey includes both black-and-white and colour images and a mixture of landscape, portrait, still-life, urban scenes and interiors. The entire country is represented in some way - a scenic shot and a protrait might be all that is needed to convey a sense of place and feeling for the deep south, just as a cafe scene and a view of the harbour could describe Wellington.
Handwritten captions reveal details about the photos, giving time of day or date, people's names and information about places - even descriptions of the weather.
Looking through this book randomly at first I found some photos I quite liked and several that seemed fairly, well, ordinary, but when read in sequence the impact was greater and I enjoyed this book very much.
When read from cover to cover this book tells a pleasing story of New Zealand, of familiar places and quite 'kiwi' subjects, an interesting journey told in sequence from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South.
There are plenty of strikingly beautiful landscape photographs in this book, and there are also artistic close ups, portraits, little details of New Zealand life. Alingside these are a few New Zealand poems, handwritten notes and details on some of the photographs, which I felt added to the sense of personal journey.
Some of the shots reminded me of Robin Morrison's photography. Perhaps it was the small rural buildings, the churches. I'm not sure if this reminder is a good thing or not, because some felt done before, unoriginal. Others I really liked though. I loved one little blue house. I loved the horse in front of the Marae. I enjoyed the artistic sense I got from this book. It was interesting to see some familiar landmarks photographed in unusual ways, and the sequence of the book gave a sense of place and feel for the different parts of the country.
I liked the variety of colour, black and white, sepia-toned photography, and how these contrasts were arranged. For example, a photograph of richly coloured fruit is set opposite a black and white portrait of an old man. I liked the range in subject material. People, buildings, vast landscapes, close ups, interiors, still life, nature, city. Some of these pictures I loved! Some I liked. More than a few I found not very interesting. Ironically, one of these was the cover photograph. It seems more like a glossy food and lifestyle magazine cover (like the magazines the author has been published in) than the cover of a book of artistic photography around New Zealand.
I didn't particularly like the title of the book, and I didn't particularly like the cover photograph, which is a shame, because there are many better photographs inside.
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