An exhibition of work by three Wellington photographers who capture the extraordinary in the everyday opened this week at the Hirschfeld Gallery at City Gallery Wellington. 'Hat trick!' brings together the work of three Wellington photographers: Victoria Birkinshaw, Anne Noble and Andy Morley-Hall. Each of these photographers documents the world around them in a way which seizes our imagination and sparks our curiosity. They conjure up the drama and spectacle of everyday moments.
Emerging artist Victoria Birkinshaw presents a series of photographs which document the Webber Bros Circus' tour of Kapiti Coast, Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt in 2003. Birkinshaw has a long-standing fascination with the circus: "Running away and joining the circus has always been up there with running off to a tropical island for me, especially midway through a Wellington winter." Birkinshaw's photographs, however, present the reality behind the glamour of the Big Top: there are scenes of drama and excitement, but also images of the hard work of installing and packing down equipment. It is an economic reality, says Birkinshaw, that in New Zealand performers also double as crew.
Established Wellington photographer Anne Noble is represented by one work in 'Hat trick!', a lush and massive image from her 'Ruby's Room' series. In this series, Noble has documented her daughter Ruby's exploration of the physical world by way of placing objects in her mouth. For Noble, photographs like the one included in 'Hat trick!' "celebrate and magnify moments of growing up that are not normally celebrated". Here, Ruby's mouth is stretched and contorted with a set of false teeth made from fruit peel - a very ordinary scenario which when photographed and blown up becomes wildly, ridiculously dramatic.
A street photographer for several years now, Andy Morley-Hall rarely leaves home without his camera. Morley-Hall captures slice-of-life images as he goes about town - his photographs in 'Hat trick!' include familiar settings such as Frank Kitts Park and Courtenay Place. Also included in 'Hat trick!' are photographs Morley-Hall took over the summer of 2003-2004 he travelled with the organisers of the Whopper Chopper Seaside Extravaganza as they toured New Zealand. Morley-Hall isn't interested in sensationalism and his photographs are understated. "They are the kinds of things each of us sees everyday," says Morley-Hall, "the only difference is that I try and capture that moment."
Victoria Birkinshaw was born in Yorkshire, England in 1978. She has a Diploma in Photography and has studied photography at Wellington Polytechnic and Massey University. Birkinshaw's recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition 'The Speedway' at Expressions Art and Entertainment Centre, Upper Hutt. 'The Circus' photographs were included in a recent issue of STAPLE magazine.
Anne Noble was born in Wanganui in 1954. She is widely recognised as one of New Zealand's leading photographers and a major retrospective of her work, 'States of Grace', toured the country in 2001-2003. Noble teaches photography at Massey University, Wellington.
Andy Morley-Hall was born in Portsmouth, England in 1967. He has recently returned to New Zealand after spending fifteen years in the UK. He studied at the London College of Printing and has a Post Graduate Diploma in Photojournalism. His recent exhibitions include a solo show, 'Please Do Not Feed', at Wellington's Photospace gallery.