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Bob Nelson: Light Industry

May 27, 2017 @ 2:00 pm - June 14, 2017 @ 3:00 pm

Depot Artspace is delighted to present an exhibition for the 2017 Auckland Festival of Photography which addresses a topical, often contentious issue – the alteration of Aotearoa New Zealand’s topographical landscape through its continuing development.

Light Industry, a synthesis of traditional landscape and social documentary photography by Auckland photographer, Bob Nelson, explicates the aesthetic tension between the industrial and social in urban environments. This body of work is influenced primarily by The New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape exhibition (New York, 1975), which marked a paradigm shift in the world of photography, where for the first time topographic images were represented as landscapes.

The highly unusual nature of these seminal topographic photographs was that unemotional and evocative subject matter was even considered landscapes. Similarly, Nelson investigates the geometric and colour permutations evident in the New Zealand industrial landscape. This accidental abstraction of the traditional landscape has fascinated Nelson and has been fuelled by his conviction that the everyday and commonplace is not without beauty and wonder stating, “it all depends on how you look at things”.

The source and inspiration for Light Industry are the industrial zones in Auckland and in smaller provincial towns around New Zealand, which according to Nelson, “show a surprising variety in design and colour choice”. Nelson’s focus is on the strong primary colours in these landscapes and his general disregard for aesthetics is the preferred raw material in which he attempts to find order and beauty. These areas, often regarded as eyesores, are a commentary on how man has altered the landscape and Nelson brings clarity to what might otherwise be seen as trite or banal. His approach also represents a reaction to the tyranny of “Scenic New Zealand” landscape photography which continues to be the dominant force in any visual representation of this country’s landscape.

Since retirement, Bob has dedicated himself to photography as his primary interest. Using both digital and film cameras he has immersed himself in investigating and recording the visual impact of man made structures on the industrial, small town and rural environments of New Zealand. He lives in Northcote Point with Sandra, his wife of 32 years. They have two adult sons living abroad.

To view more images of Bob’s photography, see his website HERE.


Saturday 27 May to Wednesday 14 June

Main Gallery 1

Opening Saturday 27 May, 2 – 3:30pm


May 27, 2017 @ 2:00 pm
June 14, 2017 @ 3:00 pm
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