Victoria St West (All photographs by Mary Macpherson)

Auckland, as seen by a visitor from outer space (Wellington)

Auckland – glassy, dusty, unfinished, trying its best – is captured in a new art book by Wellington photographer Mary Macpherson.

Big, vibrant, empty, fucked-up, under-construction Auckland. The city looms and loiters in a beautiful new art book – and exhibition, at The Pah Homestead – by Mary Macpherson, a Wellington photographer. “With its fly-overs, by-passes, and often shambolic orchestration of blocks and thoroughfares, Auckland, as presented here, is rich in happenstance and randomness,” writes Greg O’Brien, in his introductory essay in The Long View. So two residents of Wellington come to address Auckland; and both Macpherson and O’Brien gape with wonder, and alarm, and even a kind of love, at the northern star.

“Her images speak to the life and character of the Auckland in the second decade of the 21st century,” O’Brien writes. “She zeroes in on decommissioned spaces and patches of urban decay—the porous, unstable realities of inner city…Her images capture the metropolis in its state of constant flux.”

That’s the city. But what about the suckers who live in it? O’Brien’s 2000-word essay reaches towards an aria as he writes, “If we look to these images as a gauge of the human condition—a direction in which photography often leads us — we end up being confronted by the proposition that, as human beings, we are what we have built. This is the bed we have made, and now we must lie on it.”

Corner Federal and Victoria St West

Victoria St West

High St

Lorne St

Silo Park


Mary Macpherson’s exhibition opens at The Pah Homestead on May 29. Her book The Long View (Photo Forum, $35) is available at the gallery or from the author

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books.

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