SOUTH THE STORY.
Up until about 700 years ago the journey of New Zealand had solely been about the land and it’s rich flora and fauna. But then with the arrival of Polynesian settlers who were the first inhabitants, the history of people living here was started. It’s a short history in the context of human existence, but it is our history. It is our history of the land being populated, of the land being worked and explored, and what we leave behind on it. The people's history has been intertwined with the history of the land.
The South Island, the middle of three that make up New Zealand has been my home all my life. It is the place I know best and it holds the beginnings of my history. When I travel to photograph I see in the landscape the memories that it holds, the time that has past and the changes that have taken place. I sense the footprints of the early Polynesians as they clambered along the coastlines and sheltered in coastal caves. I sense the dreams of the early pioneers in the remnants of old jetties, the toil of those that built the irrigation structures and the joy of the gardeners, the designers and the visitors in the landscaped parks. I also sense the on going journey of the large rock sitting on the coastline being lashed by the ocean.
When I photograph I travel slowly, visiting and re visiting the new and the familiar, waiting for the moment where the conditions, the place, the subject matter and inner connections come together.
Memory, time and the sublime experience of the place are the subjects of my photography.
Darryl Gilbert. (2009)