We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Taranaki (The Heavens Declare the Glory of God), New Plymouth, 14 May 1986

printed 1987


Laurence Aberhart

New Zealand

1949 –

  • Details

    printed 1987
    Media category
    Materials used
    gelatin silver photograph
    19.5 x 24.5 cm image; 24.7 x 30.3 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r. corner, silver pen "L. Aberhart 1986/1987".

    Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors' Program 2002
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Laurence Aberhart

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Laurence Aberhart

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Since the 1970s Laurence Aberhart has been photographing locations of cultural interest. While Aberhart takes a traditional and controlled approach to photography his work is unconventional, inverting the position photography has held in the past as a truthful eye, using it instead to suggest the unspoken truths of history. His work suggests that ‘place’, be it the natural landscape or the built environment, has an enduring memory and resilience.

    The selected work has a metaphysical aspect in its content: Parihaka is an important location near Mount Taranaki, Aotearoa New Zealand, where a pacifist Māori group lived in the 19th century, their dreams of a gentle, inclusive and egalitarian society destroyed by the government of the day. The ancient and perfectly formed volcano Taranaki and the imposing observatory in the foreground stand as enduring witnesses to the passing of time and human history. Similarly, oceans, stone statues, vacant buildings, faded signs – all have appeared as resilient survivors in Aberhart’s photography.

    Aberhart’s interest in the historic is evident both in the choice of location and the photographic techniques employed. Using a vintage 8 x 10 inch Korona view camera and contact-print processes the artist revisits 19th-century photographic techniques used to record the landscape. This early photographic technology requires long exposures as it slowly absorbs detail and light and, particular to Aberhart’s interest, evidence of time itself. The resulting images, which combine superior depth of field, rich detail and intense luminosity, have a hallucinatory effect.

    © Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

Other works by Laurence Aberhart

See all 11 works