Above photograph was made in Gisborne in 1993. These students from a local school were hanging around and I managed to make about ten portraits. The light was low and soft and the film became grainy as I stretched the ASA in developing. Click here to see more of these portraits.
As with Winogrand and Lee Friedlander his formal sense seems to be instinctive, a highly-attuned ability to frame an image in an instant. Seemingly snapshots, their structured excellence becomes all the more apparent the longer you look. What’s more, there’s a consistency in his oeuvre expertly replicated in this beautifully-paced book. It’s a very modest publication but it records much, much more than a modest talent. Read More:
Jan 2016: Over the Xmas break I spent some time looking at work by various NZ photographers. Your work is clearly my favourite. You have a strong eye for story-telling in images, for finding the unusual in the usual, and for a sense of humour (a rare talent in 'found' photography). But I think I like your landscape work just as much. As a NZer who has lived away from NZ now for 13 years, there is real resonance for me in some of those images. They convey a kind of unvarnished truth to me, in a way that the NZ picture-postcard landscapists do not at all. When NZ seeks to project itself on the world stage it is that latter look that you see, and people say "wow! NZ is so beautiful". Well, it is, that is true. But it’s also how we NZers have treated that landscape, how we have shaped it in a very unsentimental way. All those relentless paddocks, rows of wind-break trees, wire fences, sheds. And as you arrive at places inhabited, the dairies, pubs, general stores, then shopping parks and endless sprawl of particularly un-beautiful architecture. I'm struck now, when I visit, at the sprawl and the ugliness of what we do to our amazing landscape. I love your sense for the unusual in everyday scenes, your sensitivity as a portraitist, and for landscapes that are at once essentially New Zealand, yet far from the saccharin style we so often see here. Linden Wilkie (Hong Kong) 01/2016
Nov 2015: Peter McLeavey and the Satiric Dancer. In 1999 I was having some work shown at the Peter McLeavey Gallery on Cuba St. We got talking about the Hungarian photographer Andre Kertesz (1894 – 1985) because we both enjoyed his work, and especially his evocative Satiric Dancer photograph (a beautiful young woman contorting on a chaise longue). Peter also has one of these settees in his gallery, which is probably why the subject of Kertesz came up in the first place. I asked if he would like to pose for a portrait on the chair and curve his body as the dancer did in 1926. He did his best but looked rather lifeless so I then suggested he puts one foot on top of the other to make the picture come alive. Then I suggested he drops his hand to the floor in a Michelangelo biblical pose, which he did so gracefully. I gave Peter a print a few days later and he went home laughing his head off. Sadly Peter died yesterday but the picture lives on in my 2006 book Wellingtonia See photos here
June 2015: I have been told one of my prints is hanging on the walls of the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt. The Dowse has purchased two of my prints over the years. I was told it was two nuns so the print is Forrestal House, Inglewood 1981. See print here. This print was page 29 in my book Face Value 1993. Must go out and have a look.
June 2015: I was on a panel today at the City Art Gallery: Athol McCredie chairs a panel of photographers, Anne Noble, Mary MacPherson, Bruce Foster and Julian Ward, who discuss the progression of their practices, from involvement with PhotoForum
HCR Proposal – Julian Ward 2015 Americanisation of New Zealand culture I feel we are in the last years of a recognisable New Zealand culture before we are finally swallowed up by American popular culture. Initially, slow changes were influenced by television, music and films but now online media is the last aggressive assault. Where people on the street were once uniquely Kiwi in dress and attitude, with a carefree and pioneering spirit, now people constantly view smart devices, influencing them even more. I have been photographing our communities with this in mind, the old and new, when-ever and where-ever I can. It is fascinating to watch, especially the young people. However, I rarely have the time to travel, wait and observe rural New Zealand where the changes are less obvious, but often more interesting. Winning the HCB grant would enable me to spend time and acquire a sense of place for each location. I want my photographs to be subtle in order to make people think. My proposal is to spend a full year travelling throughout New Zealand and living in a campervan. I want to emulate a photographer I greatly admire - Robert Frank when he made The Americans. Frank, a foreigner in America, was able to travel and closely observe Americans in a way I would like to observe New Zealanders. I would also love to have time to carefully edit and make a book (and exhibition) called The New Zealanders. This grant would allow me the financial freedom as Frank had in the 1950s.
May 2015: Hi Julian - Makara interests me. See Photo here. Looks like an ex hippy/baby boomer death going by how the mourners are dressed including the accessories. Anyone I know? After all we're getting closer to the firing line. See Photo Here
Feb 2015: Wellington Museum of City and Sea has selected Wellington Streets for a time capsule (Several copies, archival prints and statements). Wellington is 140 years old, it would be fascinating to be there when they look at this book in another 140 years.
Oct 2014: Heading over to Perth on Friday for 15 days. I'm going to rent a car and have a look around the country side. Someone suggested I drive east till I run out of water. I'll also stay in south Perth for a few days with old friends. Not sure if I'll have the internet so there will probably be a small gap till my next post.
Sept 2014: I have been asked about my first serious photograph. This is a portrait of a lady next door to us in Seatoun, Wellington about 1965 when I was 16. Her name was Mrs Richmond. I was able to use my uncles darkroom and my first Rolleicord camera. I was fascinated with photography after making this picture, and have never stopped. See Photo here.
August 2014: Hi Julian. Have to say, I think your photographs are great! Always have. Just been having a fresh look here. So interesting and always something arresting. Stephen A'Court
July 2014: Interesting couple (sheep). They both look elderly so that's a good sign (for non meat eaters!). Lovely image - working class of course ;-) Hopefully you spent a few hours or so to observe and record? See Photo here. Yes I gave them each a few Muesli bars and they are friends for life.
July 2014: Ans.westra Adieu.........x.. goodbye, be safe
2013: Puke Ariki Museum, New Plymouth: Gala Days is an exhibition of about 50 photos reflecting a time in Taranaki when it was easy for a young street photographer to wander in and out of people’s lives. For Julian Ward, a bored engineering draughtsman, who fulfilled his passions capturing life through a camera lens, it was truly the “gala days” of photography when he moved to New Plymouth in 1970. He found open doors to almost all public and even private events; he could wander into a factory to observe tired workers, document a tangi with a nod of approval, or get a cuppa from the teachers when photographing children. Initially, he thought he might want to be a photo journalist, but the young Ward discovered his street photography became more about “human landscapes” in the style of Henri Cartier-Bresson than news. Ward spent 15 years in New Plymouth, before heading back to Wellington where he has continued his obsession with street photography. But for him it all began in Taranaki as a young man during those early innocent times, he always thinks of as the Gala Days. Published by Puke Ariki New Plymouth.