Love And Food

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Bob Raw was an engineer who lived in New Lynn for nearly fifty years. He was an amateur photographer who took great pleasure in documenting his family at home. An exhibition of some of these photographs (of which he took hundreds) has been curated and is on display at the Corban Estate Arts Centre. It sounds, I’ll concede, quite boring.

But it isn’t! I was a bit surprised. I’m not a fan of New Zealand history, or nice family photos, or tweeness, or New Lynn. But these photos are far more than they might have been, more than the style makes you assume. Raw is a shrewd observer of human interaction and expression, and has a knack for capturing interesting viewpoints of familiar situations. There is a sense of humour that pervades his work, and the way he approaches it gives his photos an almost journalistic quality. I was reminded a little of W. Eugene Smith’s photographic essays for Life magazine in the early fifties, although I’m not absolutely sure why.

Anyway, if you’re keen to have a look at something a bit different then this may pleasantly surprise you. Art isn’t just for young people on K’Rd with skinny jeans and lopsided haircuts, real people can make it too, without even setting out to do so. Bob Raw took photos of his family because he loved them and he loved photography, and that was enough for him. Fair enough too.

Also in the room next to it there’s an exhibition which will reinforce all your negative stereotypes about amateur photography, digital photography, suburban artists and Great North road. If you’re feeling particularly vindictive and/or masochistic.

Love And Food:
The Family Photographs of Bob Raw

Corban Estate Arts Centre
426 Great North Road, Henderson, Waitakere City
22nd May – 21st of June 2009
Open 7 Days 10am – 4.30pm

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