The crowds turned out for Sunday’s first session. Marti was introduced by art historian/author Len Bell who proved to be an ideal choice for chairman.

The session featured photos by Marti of New Zealand authors and artists taken over the past 50 years. Among them Jacqueline Fahey, Dan Davin, Maurice Duggan, C.K.Stead, Tony Fomison, Pat & Gil Hanly, Michael & Jean Illingworth, Philip & Leigh Trustrum, Toss & Edith Wollaston, Philip & Leigh Trusttum and Louise Henderson.

As each portrait was shown Marti and Len discussed them, the background to the shots, the photographic techniques employed, Marti’s relationship with her subjects and so on. Interestingly the first portrait Marti had published after her arrival in NZ in 1958 was one of Maurice Gee, her next door neighbour in Henderson. As I looked at the array of these cultural icons on screen I thought how lucky they were to be photographed by Marti and how lucky we all are that they have been recorded for posterity in this way. Marti’s appealingly mellifluous voice, her sense of humour and her deep knowledge of her subject made for a winning combination, she turned out to be quite a philosopher as well especially in the areas of love, friendship, couples and why they stay together.

Marti explained that she only uses “available” light, doesn’t use a tripod, pefers black & white to colour and thinks that b&w photography will make a comeback. She talked about film v digital, developing and printing, and darkrooms.

This was a very special session, I felt privileged to be there and to be in the company of this great artist.A great start to the final day of the Festival.

Graham Beattie, Sunday, May 16, 2010

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