23 March 2014

The City - Becoming & Decaying

Today I took a relatively rare trip over to the Wairarapa for a first visit to Masterton's museum and gallery, Aratoi, for an exhibition of German photographers. Called 'The City - Becoming and Decaying', the exhibition is by members of Germany's Ostkreuz photo agency, and captures perspectives on urban life across the globe. Sponsored by the Goethe-Institut, which also does great work in supporting the Wellington Film Society, the exhibition runs for six weeks until 12 April 2014. It's a decent-sized collection of photography, and the gallery space is impressive given the size of the town. (It's a great counterpoint to the small Hedspace gallery behind the Hedley's bookshop in Masterton's main shopping street, where I saw the Sukita / Bowie exhibition in 2012).

Five favourite images from the exhibition (not online, sorry):

  • Jörg Brüggemann - Ushuaia series: Capturing the vibrant and diverse youth scene of the isolated corner of Argentina that stakes a claim to be the world's most southernmost city. (It's at 54° 48′ South - see map)
  • Pepa Hristova - Tokyo Electronic Town: Hristova's pictures of weird Akihabara cafe culture are typically interesting, but my favourite was a night-time portrait of a presumably wealthy Tokyo resident showing off his two enormous dogs on an Ebisu park bench. Where would he find the space to house them in one of the world's most crowded cities?
  • Dawin Meckel - Detroit: The expected signs of urban decay are present in Meckel's photos, but my favourite was the one of an elderly black gent with two-tone shoes, pausing momentarily to have his picture taken outside the Fox Theater en route to a concert. (The venue is soon to feature a Hendrix tribute night featuring Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang and Dweezil Zappa). 
  • Anne Schönharting - Auroville: Images of a planned spiritual settlement near Chennai in India that houses 2000 people, mostly Europeans and Indians, focusing on the golden sci-fi dome of the Matrimandir spiritual centre.
  • Thomas Meyer - Dubai: Exploring the ultra-planned, sterile streets of the Gulf entrepot, Meyer came across a shop selling only stuffed pink camel toys. A wonderfully surreal image. 
Aratoi is also worth a visit for its small exhibition on Wairarapa history, which is presumably a permanent feature.

See also:
Photography: Dark Cloud / White Light, 22 September 2013
Photography: Wildlife Photographer of the Year, 20 January 2013
Photography: World Press Photo 2012, 22 August 2012
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