Athol McCredie—who has been working as curator at Te Papa since 2001—compiled the photos that he found best captured the spirit of the country. McCredie has spent a lot of time with the collection and has personally added to it, making him the right person for the job. The vast collection of photos is separated into seven chapters focusing on things like portraits, places, and events.
"Like most curators, I had to do a lot of balancing: of picking well-known photographs that people would expect to see, but tempering these with lesser-known images. I would quite liked to have selected entirely unknown images, but I came to realise that we all like to see old favourites, and these tend to be favourites for good reasons," he told Lost at E Minor.
It took about a year for this book to come to fruition: The selection and writing process took about six months, with editing and revising taking an additional six months. McCredie had to sift through roughly 320,000 items when picking the right photos.
"That’s big of course, and makes it one of Te Papa’s largest collections, but in the scale of many museum and library collections, relatively modest. About three-quarters of the items are negatives or transparencies. The collection is very much shaped by the history of the museum. The emphasis of Te Papa’s predecessor, the National Museum, for example, was on ethnology and natural history, and to a lesser extent on social history," he said.
New Zealand Photography Collected comes out November 15, but you can pre-order a copy on Amazon.
Ans Westra, Students performing, Whatatutu Primary School, near Wairoa, 1963
John Pascoe,Free apples to school children, May 1944
Brian Brake, Oriental Bay, Wellington, 1960, taken for New Zealand, gift of the sea (1963)
Megan Jenkinson, Atmospheric optics I, 2007
American Photographic Company Mrs Stewart, 1869–76
Wayne Barrar Dividing barriers, crystalizing ponds, 1987
Alfred Burton, Burton Brothers Milford Sound, cascade from Mitre, 1885
Brian Brake, Young holiday makers at Tauranga, 1960
Eric Lee‐Johnson, Mrs Goodson and Opo, 1956
Whites Aviation Queenstown, 1950s, from an album of Whites Aviation hand‐coloured views of New Zealand
National Publicity Studios Beach cove, c. 1965