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Whau Solar

Following on from Jenny Tomlin’s Whau Solar project during the Whau Arts Festival 2019, this exhibition included the Solargraphic pinhole images created by the workshop participants. Everyone’s cameras survived intact and the images depict the Whau river over their 3 week exposures.

Jenny Tomlin led the workshop and photographers included: Holly Campbell, Jenny Greengrass, Jo Urquhart, Kim Maree, Lissa Knight, Matt Hurley, Robyn Urquhart and Yolanda Gao.

Whau Solar is the culmination of a pinhole photography workshop using the solargraphy process along the banks of the Whau River.  The workshop was held at All Goods, Avondale and involved participants making simple pinhole cameras using recycled aluminum drink cams.  In a makeshift darkroom we loaded the with photographic paper.  The workshop then finished up at Ken Maunder Park and the cameras were set up along the edge of the Whau River.  The location was ideal; the cameras could point northwards to capture the sun’s arc as well as its reflection in the water.

The long exposures were 3 weeks duration, and coincided with the Whau Arts Festival 2019 from June 15 – July 7.  Although making and loading the cameras was fairly straightforward the rest of the process relied on the weather, nature, and chance for ‘X’ to happen.  The tricky bit was finding surreptitious places to site them.  Some ladder and tree climbing was involved but all part of the adventure.

During the exposure, they needed to be light-tight, weather-tight and tightly secured. We weren’t sure if any cans would be still there after 3 weeks.  Is was a nervous wait with frequent trips to the park to check all was well.  This extra checking paid off; retrieving one camera before high tide that had been tossed into the mangroves and another having fallen out of a tree which had been replaced in another tree nearby.

In the end, everyone’s camera survived intact, their solargraphs now depicting the Whau over time, the results of this labour are celebrated in this show.