Three decades of ANZAC memorial photography

Thursday, 07 April 2016

ANZAC, a unique insight into the memorialisation of war by acclaimed New Zealand photographer Laurence Aberhart, opens at Canterbury Museum today (7 April).

War Memorial, Kaiapoi, Canterbury.

War Memorial, Kaiapoi, Canterbury.

Laurence Aberhart has been photographing World War One memorials that include a single figure, in New Zealand and Australia for more than three decades. This special exhibition of 60 prints, developed by Dunedin Public Art Gallery as part of the World War One centenary commemorations is the stunning result of this work.

Within a few years of New Zealand and Australia becoming engaged in the war, local communities had commissioned and funded public war memorials in small towns across both countries.

Museum Director, Anthony Wright says that Aberhart’s work is particularly thought-provoking and relevant in the lead up to ANZAC Day. “These war memorials stand across both our countries as symbolic and moving tributes to those who sacrificed their lives in the wars of the twentieth century and are powerful reminders of the massive casualties of war.”

As with all his work, Aberhart shot the exhibition photographs with an old-fashioned view camera using long exposures and available light.

Laurence Aberhart is regarded as one of New Zealand’s most important photographers. His work has been exhibited widely throughout New Zealand and internationally and is found in all major New Zealand public collections as well as many overseas. For close to 40 years, he has produced a body of work unrivalled in its intensity, richness and layers of cultural and photographic history.

ANZAC: Photographs by Laurence Aberhart. 7 April to 24 July 2016 at Canterbury Museum. Developed and toured by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery with support from Creative New Zealand and WW1 Lotteries.