Solitude as part of Auckland Festival of Photography 24 May

Posted by Fiona Cable on

This year the OutThere Collective chose the theme of “Solitude” to explore for the Auckland festival of photography. It has been an interesting exercise with some of the group leaning towards the enjoyment of solitude and other’s finding the topic slightly darker in mood. It is a theme that the group felt interesting to address now, in a world where technology is perhaps changing human’s social context. We wanted to explore whether solitude is a solace people crave from the chaotic, constant barrage of noise and stress. We also wanted to compare “solitude” to its darker twin “isolation” and explore whether the advance in technology has led man into a lonely place behind perfect personas created on social media.


The exhibition will be a celebration of the collective’s diversity and promises to offer moody, evocative and thought provoking works.

Judy Stokes is well known for her Intentional Camera Movement creating images that at first glance could be paintings rather than photographs. Winning the Taranaki National Art award in 2017 with her photograph “Storm out at Sea” she celebrates her life out at Muriwai beach. Judy enjoys a natural affinity with the pleasure of solitude, often seeking it in nature and on the ocean. Her exploration for this exhibition has been to share this with others, tempting her viewers to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the busy (and ever growing busier) world.

Gail Stent joins Judy in her quest to show escape from the chaotic world. A talented underwater photographer, Gail finds that immersed in water one is able to isolate one’s mind and be completely independent of the distractions of normal sensory input. “There isn’t another place like it in the world where you experience buoyancy, peace, solitude –  a place far removed” In her photographs for this exhibition Gail portrays single subjects, weightless and free, in a place where the world is temporarily forgotten and where, in the absence of sensory input, they reach a state of consciousness deep in the human mind.

Dave Simpson, a prolific music events photographer, has explored the theme of solitude within his genre. Performers, behind a wall of bright lights, looking out to the darkened crowd, often seem to exude an essence of reaching deep into themselves- into an inner place of solitude. Dave’s images in this exhibition search for the slightly unusual connection of solitude within the performing artist.

Peter Arnold believes that while photographic images have been manipulated from the beginning of photography, the advent of the digital image is pushing the photography into a new genre and in the future the camera as we now know it, will be replaced by a programmable Artificial Intelligence digital image recorder . In the meantime he feels that digital manipulation allows you to take an image and change it to what is in your imagination, and in doing so create a truer representation of your personal world. He believes digital manipulation is still in its infancy. In the future the combination of programmable AI cameras and sophisticated post production tools will transform photography into a new and exciting genre where the only limit is your imagination. His images are a constant experimentation, exploring the digital possibilities of photography, they are thought provoking layers of complexity requiring the viewer to ask questions within themselves, about themselves and their world.

John Botton, a very successful printer of fine art (PrintArt,) is himself also a fine artist. His work for this exhibition and the theme of Solitude, begins to explore the relationship between subject and environment. In this body of work, he has used driftwood as a metaphor for the fabric of society which creates the backdrop over which the human form is juxtaposed. By using digital manipulation techniques John has interwoven the two showing how people living in a modern and frenetic world can find solace and strength in the knowledge of their own identity like the Tā moko worn by the Māori.

Solitude comes from the Latin word 'solitudinem', which means "loneliness," but that doesn't necessarily mean you're lonely. Solitude may imply that you are apart from all human beings intentionally or by circumstance.

Schopenhauer stated in 1818, that “A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; ... if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.” Is this still relevant in 2018?

The OutThere collective invite you to join them at Railway St Gallery from the 24 May to 12 June 2018 as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography, and enjoy their diverse visual exploration of this interesting topic. If you would like interaction with the five of them, they will be available at the opening on Thurs 24th May 5-8pm, as well as on the 9th June 1-3pm for an artist meet and greet session.

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