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Thursday, 3 November 2011

Photographing the loss of Avonside

A photo documentary project has begun to record a number of post-earthquake personal experiences. It will, over a period of years, record the lives of some Avonside residents as they and the suburb experience the after-effects of the earthquakes.

It is intended the project will result in a public exhibition featuring the people and events, potentially a book, and a significant oral and visual record of what happened to the suburb and some of it's people. The material gathered will become a significant record and educational resource in the collections of the A Place in Time Documentary Project.

The aim of A Place in Time is to record the city of Christchurch and a cross-section of its people through photography, oral history and documentary writing. Since its establishment in 2000 it has produced an extensive archive of exhibitions, books, and educational projects under the directorship of Glenn Busch. Many of the projects have resulted in highly acclaimed and widely publicized exhibitions such as My Place (Glenn Busch & Bruce Connew), Red Bus Diary (Tim Veling) and Caring for the Dead (Bridgit Anderson).

The project is being undertaken by a team of three. Leader of the team is accomplished documentary photographer, and University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts lecturer, Glenn Busch. His role will be to spend time with the participants to record their lives prior to the earthquakes, their earthquake experiences, and how life unfolds for them as Avonside is depopulated, homes demolished, and lives begun again somewhere else.

The two other project members, who will be taking the photographs are:
Bridgit Anderson - photographer and manager of the University of Canterbury's A Place in Time Documentary Project and responsible for it's education programmes. Bridgit will spend time with the participants getting to know them and photographing them to accompany the stories recorded by Glenn.
Tim Veling - photographer and University of Canterbury photography lecturer. Tim will be recording the buildings and landscape as it changes, and has already started doing this.

If you are an Avonsider and would like to be considered, or would like more information about being involved, please send an e-mail to Bridgit Anderson with your name, address, e-mail address and telephone number. Bridgit's e-mail is If you don't have access to, or use, e-mail Bridgit can be contacted on 355-0473

For those who like technical details: Tim will be photographing with a large format 4x5 film camera (see Tim in action in the photograph above) shooting Kodak Portra. Bridgit will be using 35mm black & white film. Digital is different, not better. Amongst other things film is significantly more archival than digital images so the record of the project will last for very many decades.

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