Wayne Barrar's Beneath Bowen Falls

Wayne Barrar, Beneath Bowen Falls To Mitre Peak, Fiordland, 2000.

This image – particularly the top curve – harks back to early topographic photography, but a closer look suggests it is contemporary. In some ways it is the antithesis of the Bragge image; this path has been laid for tourists to wander along while admiring the scenery.

Barrar is perhaps better known overseas than in his home country, primarily because his approach and concerns, while being influenced by and reflecting the 1970s so-called ‘New Topographics’ movement, have never been very fashionable here. Change is a key word in Barrar’s oeuvre. For the past 25 years he has been rigorously photographing change, and also changing his own approach to photography, creating a mini-history of the medium while recording contemporary events in his own understated way.

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