Capturing Taranaki's identity

PETRA FINER- SOUTH TARANAKI STAR
Last updated 10:55 08/11/2012
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One of the Laurence Aberhart images on display at Hawera's Lysaght Watt gallery as part of his latest exhibition.

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South Taranaki Star

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Mount Taranaki draws photographer Laurence Aberhart back in his latest exhibition touring the region.

The exhibition opens at Hawera's Lysaght Watt gallery today.

Mr Aberhart has taken many photographs of what he calls ordinary Taranaki scenes over the years. He started photographing South Taranaki in 1982, and has been focusing more on North Taranaki in recent years.

"In some odd way it's the mountain itself, but I find the most interesting subject matter in areas that aren't necessarily old, but they contain something of what they have been for a very long time," he said.

Mr Aberhart believes he is attracted to places that have an identity.

"The rest of the world is rapidly losing any sense of identity to become much more universal. Taranaki hasn't succumbed to that yet."

He's also interested in what the camera is witnessing. Often his camera shows images he would never have expected.

He said exhibition-goers could expect to be confronted with scenes they were mostly familiar with to the point they wouldn't normally notice them.

The series of images features rural Rahotu, Auroa, Opunake and Awatuna. Mr Aberhart hoped they would make people think.

"To me it's working when what the person is seeing sets off a chain of mental and emotional responses.

"It sets off some sort of associated memory. I'd hope that people in Taranaki looking at these photographs would all get something from it."

The Recent Taranaki Photographs exhibition is at Hawera's Lysaght Watt Gallery on Union St until December 2.

The gallery is open weekdays 10am to 4pm and Saturdays 10am-1pm.

Admission is free.

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