“The New Photography”, is an exhibition and book of New Zealand’s photographer pioneers of the 1960s and 1970s.
John Fields (1938-2013)
John Fields was born in 1938 in Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA and was educated in Rockport a New England artists’ colony. He learned to photograph while in the US Navy and was a commercial photographer before becoming a specialist in electron microscope imaging. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1966 to continue working in this domain at the University of Auckland.
In 1970 Fields organised a cooperatively published booklet of the work of ten contemporary photographers, Photography: A visual dialect – the first such publication in New Zealand. He was also responsible for one of the first exhibitions of contemporary photography at a dealer gallery: a group exhibition at Barry Lett Galleries in 1972.
He and John Stacpoole published Victorian Auckland: Photographs of the earlier buildings of Auckland in 1973; and his work featured alongside that of Gary Baigent and Richard Collins in the Auckland City Art Gallery exhibition and publication Three New Zealand Photographers.
From about 1974 Fields embarked on an ambitious plan to document the small town of Thames with an eye to an eventual publication. However, a disagreement with the Inland Revenue Department over the professional status of his work prompted him to leave New Zealand for Australia in disgust and disappointment, and the work was only published in 2017.
Fields initially taught photography in Sydney before being appointed chief photographer at the Australian Museum in Sydney. In 1987 he was appointed head photographer in the media resources unit at the University of New England, Armidale, NSW, and he later became liaison officer in the university’s publicity unit.
John Fields died in 2013.
From Athol McCredie (Ed.), The New Photography, Te Papa Press, Wellington, New Zealand, 2019.
The New Photography – Life in the 60s and 70s.
until October 13.
Te Papa Tongarewa The Museum of New Zealand Toi Art Level 4
55 Cable Street
Wellington, New Zealand
The book accompanies the exhibition :
The New Photography, Te Papa Press. Publication date: June 2019. Hardback 22x27cm, 216 pages ISBN: 978-0-9951031-9-1. RRP $NZ70.00.