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Topic: Art Photography Collection

Is part of topic Art and Photography at Te Papa

Photography was first collected as art for the national collection in 1976. The focus since has been primarily on New Zealand contemporary work, with some forays into collecting international photography.

There are about 3000 photographs by contemporary New Zealand photographers in the collection. Large groups of work are held of the following significant photographers:

  • Laurence Aberhart - covering from 1974 to the present
  • Mark Adams - from his 'Cook's Sites', 'Land of Memories', and Samoan tattooing series
  • Wayne Barrar - covering from 1985 to 2000
  • Peter Black - covering from 1977 to the present
  • Glenn Busch - primarily from his 'Working Men' series
  • Anne Noble - covering from 1976 to the present
  • Peter Peryer - covering from 1975 to the present
  • Ans Westra - includes a large selection of working prints, which can be used for study purposes.

Some of this work can be seen in our past exhibition or collection publications. These include:

  • Views/exposures: 10 contemporary New Zealand photographers. 1982. Wellington: National Art Gallery.
  • Busch, Glenn. 1984. Working Men. Wellington: National Art Gallery.
  • Thompson, Paul. 1998. New Zealand: a century of images. Wellington: Te Papa Press.
  • McAloon, William (ed). 2009. Art at Te Papa. Wellington: Te Papa Press.
  • McCredie, Athol (ed). 2010. Brian Brake: Lens on the World. Wellington: Te Papa Press.

International photography includes approximately 130 images by mostly American photographers acquired in the 1980s. Many of the famous names are represented, such as Edward Weston, Minor White, Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, and Diane Arbus. A listing of many of these photographs can be found in the exhibition catalogue Stateside: twentieth century American photography (Wellington: National Art Gallery. 1991).

The other group of international work is by photographers from the famous photo agency Magnum. This was acquired by the gift of the 1989 travelling exhibition In our time: the world as seen by Magnum photographers. Photographers include Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eugene Smith, Elliot Erwitt, and Marc Riboud; and their work can be seen in the In our time catalogue (New York: American Federation of Arts/Norton. 1989).


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