VE Day crowds at Parliament

VE Day crowds at Parliament

Crowds at the official VE Day celebrations, Parliament Buildings, Wellington, 1945

John Pascoe was an everyman: law clerk, an adventurer and explorer, government photographer, chief archivist and family man (as evidenced by the recent exhibition of intimate and beautiful family photographs by Pascoe, Songs of Innocence: Photographs of A New Zealand Childhood). He also wrote numerous books and edited the 30-part pictorial magazine Making New Zealand in celebration of the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Inspired by the 1930s school of documentary photography, Pascoe captured a New Zealand that had previously been largely ignored by the photographer’s gaze. This photo captures the mood of the day while nicely avoiding the ‘official’ part of the celebrations which the crowd were there to take part in.

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