Pictures on Paper – a Tangent Film Production

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Pictures on Paper – The photobook in New Zealand.

Co-directed by Becky Nunes and Anita Tòtha

A Tangent Film.  © 2015

The photo-book has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent years. Combined with on-demand publishing it now offers photographers unprecedented and unmediated access to audiences for their work. From a bespoke and limited-edition artist book to a large print run showcasing the entire body of work of an artist, the photo-book has shifted from background to foreground for the attention of art fairs, libraries and collectors.


This short documentary charts some of the key moments in the history of the photo book in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Interviews with early proponents of the form such as photographer/publisher Haru Sameshima and photographer David Cook give context. Harvey Benge talks about his long-term obsession with the photobook format, his own printed works and his extensive collection.


Importantly, the film also foregrounds the now; a slice of contemporary book-making in the early 21st Century. Solomon Mortimer, David Cook & Ann Shelton are some of the important lens-based artists working in the medium today.


This documentary has no claims on any encyclopedic qualities. Rather, it aims to intrigue, inspire and provoke debate around a medium that, in the South Pacific at least, is still in its teenage years. The photo book, like any art form linked intrinsically with technology as its means of production, is on the move. What this film portrays as the “now” of 2015 will be an important archival contribution to our collective imaging history in the turn of a page.