Title / object name
|Maker ||Role ||Date |
|Rumsey, Steve ||photographer ||1976 |
black and white photograph, gelatin silver printMaterials
photographic gelatin, silver, photographic paper
|Image ||510 (Height) x 371 (Length) mm|
|Support ||510 (Height) x 371 (Length) mm|
black-and-white prints, gelatin silver prints, black-and-white photographs, works of art
This black and white photograph by Steve Rumsey was taken in 1976. It shows potter Len Castle throwing a fairly large jug in his studio in Titirangi, Auckland. He is looking in a mirror hanging on the wall of his studio so he can see the jug's form as he works. Rumsey has photographed Castle through the studio window, a technical decision based on the lack of room inside the studio. The hazy dots that appear through the centre of the image are clay splashes on the glass windowpane.
Len Castle bears some similarities to another photograph by Rumsey in Te Papa's collection called Man and atom (Barry Brickell). Both photographs feature potters at work, and both capture their subjects through studio windows. However, this similarity is more a coincidence than a planned effect. In the case of Man and atom (Barry Brickell), Rumsey was interested in making a visual image that would comment on atomic energy. The point of the photograph is not Brickell's work as a potter, but to illustrate a larger theme. In the case of Len Castle, Rumsey is interested in documenting Castle's artistic activities. In this sense, Len Castle is closer to Decisive moment (Len Castle), another Rumsey photograph of Castle in Te Papa's collection that was taken in 1963.
A long-term photographic project
This photograph of Len Castle represents the longevity of Rumsey's commitment to photographing artists and craftspeople. Castle was the first potter that Rumsey photographed (in the 1950s), and Rumsey continued to photograph him over the next thirty years. Not only was Castle an important potter, someone that Rumsey was commissioned to photograph, but he was also a friend. The many portraits of Castle and his work in Rumsey's archive range from professional to personal, and they demonstrate the importance and value of Rumsey's photographs of artists and craftspeople.