Ans Westra Photographs
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Handboek: Ans Westra Photographs
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Handboek n. ( Dutch) , guide, handbook, manual

Both an exhibition and publication Handboek:Ans Westra Photographs provides an in-depth insight into the 45 year photographic journey by one of New Zealand’s most persistent documenters. Handboek comprises a gallery of Westra’s most revealing and challenging documentary images.

The texts and images in Handboek take us through this remarkable photographic journey and allow us all to view or review our own position vis-a-vis the stories that journey conveys.

The 130 + photographs reproduced here in full plates and essay illustrations include many images not seen or published before. While the bulk of the photographer’s images have appeared in the many publications she has contributed to, this comprehensive survey, accompanied by some of the best writing yet on the photographer, provides the reader and viewer with a rare insight into Ans Westra’s achievements.

Luit Bieringa, curator and coordinator of the Handboek project has been a supporter of photography since his early days as Director of the Manawatu Art Gallery and subsequently as Director of the erstwhile National Art Gallery of New Zealand. During his directorships (1971-1989) he has encouraged the exhibition and collecting of New Zealand and international photography through such exhibitions as the groundbreaking survey of contemporary New Zealand photography The Active Eye, and survey and thematic exhibitions by Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger and Richard Misrach, among many others.

The Book is into its first reprint (June 2005) and is available from all major bookstores including the following :

Unity Books


For information on other stores selling the book or for Bulk orders please contact BWX:
PO Box 6150
Te Aro

Or by email at

Notes on the contributors

Christina Barton is a writer and curator currently lecturing in Art History at Victoria University of Wellington. She has written extensively on art in New Zealand from the 1970s to the present, with a particular focus on post-object, conceptual and critical practices that have emerged over this time.

Gavin Hipkins is a Wellington-based artist. He has represented New Zealand in the 25th Sao Paulo Bienal (2002) and the 11th Biennale of Sydney (1998). His one-person exhibition The Homely was launched by City Gallery Wellington in 2001 and has toured Australasia. His writings on contemporary art have appeared in journals including Art and Text, Art Journal, and Art New Zealand.

Lawrence McDonald is a writer, editor and curator currently lecturing in the Centre for Creative Industries, Wellington Institute of Technology. He is also writing a PhD thesis on the work of Ans Westra at Massey University. In 1998 he curated the exhibition Les Cleveland: Six Decades - Message from the Exterior at the City Gallery Wellington; and he continues to edit and publish Illusions, a journal of New Zealand moving image and performing arts criticism.

Kyla McFarlane is based in Melbourne, where she works as a freelance writer, curator, teacher and picture editor. She is currently completing a PhD thesis on the relationship between feminism, photography and psychoanalysis at Monash University - a project that has furthered her particular interest in contemporary photographic practice. Cushla Parekowhai has published extensively on issues relating to Mäori and made a number of contributions to contemporary art historical debate in Aotearoa / New Zealand. She is interested in personal narrative as a means of understanding the origins of concept and the nature of creative motivation. Her writings have appeared in MidWest, PhotoFile, Art New Zealand. She has taught contextual studies in the School of Art and Design at Unitec and Manukau Polytechnic, Auckland and is currently a freelance writer and weekend librarian.

Damian Skinner is currently finishing his PhD thesis at Victoria University of Wellington. He has researched and published widely on aspects of modernism in Aotearoa, and recent publications include Don Binney: Ngä Manu/Ngä Motu - Birds/Islands (Auckland University Press, 2003), and a chapter on Ans Westra and Gregory Riethmaier in On Display: New Essays in Cultural Studies (Victoria University Press, 2004). His most recent curatorial project was Given: Jewellery by Warwick Freeman, which opened in Amsterdam in May 2004.

John B. Turner (b.1943) is a Senior Lecturer in Photography at the Elam School of Fine Arts, at the University of Auckland. He joined the then Dominion Museum as photographer in the mid-sixties and also began writing about aspects of practical photography, criticism and the history of photography. He has curated landmark exhibitions including Nineteenth Century New Zealand Photography (1970) and Baigent, Collins, Fields: Three New Zealand Photographers (1973). He was editor of PhotoForum magazine from 1974-1984, and later from 1990 to the present, during which period he was editor of PhotoForum’s award-winning photography book, Ink & Silver (1995). He has been teaching photography at Elam since 1971. In 1993 he co-authored, with William Main, New Zealand Photography from the 1840s to the Present and his book Eric Lee Johnson: Artist with a Camera was published in 1999.