Sunday 18 December 2011

Harvey Benge

I am often asked which camera artist has published the most photography books in New Zealand. Twenty years ago, the answer would have been either Brian Brake or Robin Morrison. Not now.

At last count, Harvey Benge has published 35 books. That is a phenomenal achievement. Harvey is a natural maker of books.

His two latest books are Truth and Various Deceptions and Paris Diary, November 2011. He thinks carefully about how his photographs are sequenced. Frequently, there is an undercurrent of narrative in his editorial choices. I have long been a fan of how he sees people – it is both intimate and revelatory. He likes young people and understands their world with notable empathy.

Where once there was a humour, now there is a deeper underpinning of an emotional bandwith, Instead of taking a superficial smarty-pants approach to street photography he applies a forensic eye on what he is discovering.

His Paris Diary is tantamount to being an artist’s book that exists as a visual travelogue. Nothing is left to chance. I sense how he created his book as he walked about Paris, as if the book is a sequence of cinematic stills that he intuits will result in stimulating pairings and groupings. Recommended highly!

Harvey Benge
Paris Diary, November 2011 (four top images)
Truth and Various Deceptions (four lower images)
Photographs courtesy of Harvey Benge

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