I had a great time putting together my first music video. The people at the Alexander Turnbull Library were really helpful in providing these incredible images from their archives. As I compiled the ones I wanted for the video I saw the story of my country unfolding before my eyes. I was astounded at the clarity, sharpness and richness of the pictures – they captured exactly what I wanted to with the video and the song.
I thought I’d post some of them here with their descriptions (from the Alexander Turnbull Timeframes website) so you can admire them individually…
“Inside a freezing works, probably in the Hastings district, Hawkes Bay. Shows rows of carcasses handing on hooks, and seven workers standing alongside. Photograph taken between 1920-1939 by Henry Norford Whitehead”
A stunning photograph – very sharp and beautiful composition. To me it captures something essential about New Zealand in the years before the war.
“Two men stand beside body of whale on the wharf of the whaling station, Whangamumu, Northland Photograph taken by Leo White. 1927”
I have a strong interest in whaling and am actually working on a book about whaling in New Zealand. This photo comes from the Cook Brothers’ Whangamumu station, which was staffed mostly by Maori workers and was famous for its method of catching whales, which involved stringing a net between the mainland and an offshore rock. The migrating humpbacks would entangle themselves in the net and could then be approached and killed.
“Shows workers with carts and a horse at the Otira Tunnel ca 1908.”
This is my favourite picture in the video and a big part of the appeal for me is the stained and worn border around it. I love the composition, the horse, the heavy chain and the looks on the faces of the men. I actually briefly considered using this image on the front cover of my album.
“World War I soldiers in a trench during the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey. Photograph taken in 1915 by an unidentified photographer.”
I was struck by the haunted, exhausted look in the eyes of these soldiers. What horrors they’d experienced prior to this photograph being taken, I cannot begin to imagine.
“Jockey C H Mackie, splattered with mud”Just liked the shot. Mud. Says it all really.