I address issues of colonisation, history and erasure, indigenous relationships with place, and the role photography has played in our communities using different styles and processes, and coming from different vantage points.
The history of Māori in photography is interesting. There is some incredible imagery, however, it’s all been taken by pakeha photographers and unless their subjects were chiefs, or of significance, most of them were unknown.
Analogue photography is a historic reference for this traditional technique which I was attracted to and the fact that it has always been held by the colonial photographers.
I’ve really questioned recently being a documentary photographer and what that actually means, and it comes back to “think collaborative” as we both stand on the side of our Awa, or Marae, or Whenua…Opening up that Polaroid, and looking at it at the same time. Sometimes it’s about giving it some time to breathe; it needs that life force, it needs the person who I photographed to understand it, too. There’s such a power coming from those who I’m photographing. They’re really owning it. The medium lends itself to that. You’ve got someone who’s sitting really intensely for minutes at an end; it’s incredible.
The whole process of shooting analogue and on 5x4 Polaroid is all about the unknown. I love the stillness and the slowness of it, and I quite liked that unpredictability of it.