Macpherson’s Part in the City

Macpherson’s Part in the City

A review of The Long View by Mary Macpherson

Jodie Dalgleish for Landfall Review Online

October 2, 2018

The Long View: Auckland photographs 2014–2017 by Mary Macpherson with an essay by Gregory O’Brien (Mary Macpherson and PhotoForum Inc., 2018), 44 pp, $35

Designated as PhotoForum #89. Published to accompany the exhibition of the same name at Pah Homestead, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre, Auckland, 29 May to 22 July 2018 as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography.

Cover spread.jpg

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera”.

Dorothea Lange’s famous quote comes to mind as I open the pages of Mary Macpherson’s new photographic book, The Long View: Auckland photographs 2014–2017.1 Modestly sized, it presents 25 superbly coloured photographs of the city, and an essay by Gregory O’Brien. 

I am particularly taken with Macpherson’s project. It shows her characteristic care for a photograph’s visual synchronicities, as did her last project with which she traversed the entire country in search of uncommon moments of the history of an Old New World. But here, it is a contemporary Pacific Rim city that occupies my vision, as an entity of the photographer’s making-in-the-world. And for me it becomes part of a photographic history of ‘the city’ as gathered through the lens and the photobook over decades of photographers on the road and walking the street. From Walker Evans, Fred Herzog and Robert Frank to the ‘New Colour Photography’ of Stephen Shore, Gary Blackman’s Built in Dunedin2 and Macpherson’s Long View, we find a particular city framed over a course of years, with close attention to its moment as we might personally seek, and see it, on our feet.

Read the full review at Landfall Review Online

Purchase the book from PhotoForum

Read the EyeContact review of the exhibition