Mary Macpherson

The photographs of Mary Macpherson – with a dash of poetry

Posts Tagged ‘Bent

Bent in Auckland

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Printing some Auckland images from Bent I was surprised at what was revealed by the large prints. The prints are not meters high as is current fashion, but large enough to start really seeing the details that stitch a photograph together – like the Sunshine Coach and Joyful furniture in one image – and to gain a presence that they don’t always have as A4 workprints. The image below of the Moreton Bay Fig and Coprosma was one that gained in stature as you actually felt the massive sweep of the tree and its sheltering of the seedling. Perhaps it’s related to Auckland city which often makes me felt like I’m in the land of giants.

The work will be shown in June at the Gus Fisher gallery alongside the PhotoForum show ‘History in the Taking’ 6 – 28 June – I’m really looking forward to the PhotoForum show and the accompanying publication.

Moreton Bay fig and Cosproma, Auckland (from the Bent series) (Image copyright Mary Macpherson)

Moreton Bay Fig and Cosproma, Auckland (from the Bent series) (Image copyright Mary Macpherson)




Written by Mary Macpherson

02/05/2014 at 11:15 am

Caption heaven

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Tearing open the parcels of my Bent books, I was really happy with the quality of the reproductions and layouts and, absurdly so, with the captions. Partly it was the memory of cutting and pasting all 68 ‘darlings’ into the big hardback, and going cross-eyed matching the caption numbers with images in the small softcover. But most importantly it was the knowledge that, as planned, I’d been able to name all the trees.

For this major thanks are due to people and institutions – so a big shout out to Janis Freegard – the talented poet, botanist and policy person, who tracked down an Elm, Moreton Bay Figs and Fan Palms and this Sawara Cypress (how good it feels to know that name).

Cross, Sawara Cypress

Cross with Sawara Cypress, Otaki (from the Bent series. Image copyright Mary Macpherson)

And the multi-talented Jonathan Kennett who’s written the text for the books, and helped identified many of the trees and wood in the images, including this table – which is a companion picture to the cross.

Macrocarpa table

Macrocarpa table, Featherston (from the Bent series, image copyright Mary Macpherson)

And this treatment of Silver Birches.

Silver Birches by supermarket, Taupo

Pollarded Silver Birches, Taupo (from the Bent series, image copyright Mary Macpherson)

Bent is my series about how the lives of trees are affected by human needs. An extract from the work will show at Photospace Gallery, Wellington from 22 February 2014. A limited edition hardback book will be launched at the same time.

Written by Mary Macpherson

19/01/2014 at 4:43 pm

The weight of names

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Trudging, plodding and sometimes leaping through rounding up the names of all the trees I’ve photographed, I’ve felt the weight that naming something places on us. To know the name of the tree, at times, seems more important than seeing the actual tree, or the image of the tree. Yet the tree lives and grows outside our naming conventions – what does it matter to the tree what it’s called? When I look at the photographs I’ve made, there’s plenty to be understood or felt without knowing the name. But to give the tree a place inside our culture, to place it on a par with humans, it seems important to have that label. Perhaps it’s linkedĀ  to our dependence on language as a way of understanding the world.

Anyway – more success with names. After being turned down by the Auckland City Council for help with names, a kind woman at a local plant shop identified Dracaena and a few others from my photographs – all in between my buying a pink geranium and the next customer. How good I felt with that name – Dracaena. Wikipedia tells me it’s a romanized form of the Ancient Greek, linking back to the meaning of female dragon. Now I feel really secure about that picture….

Dracaena in pot

Dracaena, Devonport wharf, Auckland (from the Bent series) (image copyright Mary Macpherson)

Happily I do have all the names for the 22 picture excerpt from Bent that I’ll be showing at Photospace Gallery in late February – March 2014.

Written by Mary Macpherson

10/11/2013 at 12:09 pm

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I’ve starting printing the exhibition prints for the first showing of Bent at Photospace Gallery in late February 2014. Even though I’ve been working intensively on the images and the shape of the work over the past few months, there’s nothing like the absolute pleasure of seeing a large A2 image emerge from the printer on 308 gsm Hahnemuhle photo rag paper. Below is one of the images from the show which was taken at the Lake Rotorua waterfront. As part of the work I’m trying to name each species of tree – this one I suspect is a Conifer of some sort, but if anyone knows what sort of tree it is, I’d be really pleased to hear from you.

Tree, Rotorua

Tree, Rotorua (from the Bent series) (Copyright Mary Macpherson)

The exhibition at Photospace will be a 20 image extract from the full 69 picture series of Bent. As well as the show, I’m also planning a limited edition book of the full work and will post more information about about this, and other parts of the Bent series, over the coming months.

Written by Mary Macpherson

18/10/2013 at 4:46 pm


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Well, that’s the new and final title (the third iteration) of my work on trees. Bent refers to how the life of trees is shaped by the uses that humans have for them. The title emerged after intensive sequencing of 77 images by me and Peter, who put the final work together. It’s amazing when the clarity of what your work is about swims up after a long period of searching. I’m now digesting the new form – walking round it like it’s a new version of me, viewed from the outside. And going through the 77 images and polishing work prints before moving to the many next stages.

The work is diverse – when do my ideas and thoughts about a subject not travel? – here’s a couple of images.


Treeline, SH 5, Taupo – Rotorua (from the Bent series) (Image copyright Mary Macpherson).

Pioneer statue

Log’n. Statue representing the pioneers of Kawerau (from the Bent series) (Image copyright Mary Macpherson).

Written by Mary Macpherson

17/09/2013 at 9:52 pm

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