A Modern Portrait of New Zealand Women by Bev Short
SOME of the faces are instantly recognizable, some aren’t – but all the women featured in the NZ Portrait Gallery’s exhibition All Woman have a unique story to tell.
Wellington-based photographer Bev Short has spent more than two years travelling the length and breadth of New Zealand capturing images of women who inspire her. From a Carmelite nun to Olympic sportswoman Barbara Kendall ironing in her curlers – the result is a collection of original and intimate portraits capturing the essence of Kiwi women.
“The women I met really opened up to me about their lives which I was so grateful to them for,” Short says. “It gives the results more depth and produced images which I hope will in turn inspire those looking at them.” Many of the women featured have had overcome entrenched gender-biased attitudes as they made their mark in their chosen occupation.
Inspired by the work of portrait photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Short knew the images had to be more than just a snapshot. “It was important to me that the personality and character of the women I met came through. The photos needed to make the viewer want to take a second look.” Alongside famous faces such as the Topp twins, former Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast, poet Dame Fiona Kidman and comedian Michele A’Court are “ordinary” Kiwi women – a pilot, an electrician, a genetic scientist, a refugee.
“The chains of gender have been a challenge for many of the women I met. But rather than work in jobs that were practical, safe and steady, they opted for things which stirred their imaginations,” Short explains. “I really admired their spirit and energy. I wanted to celebrate that, but also to share their stories and images with a wider public.”
NZ Portrait director Avenal McKinnon says the exhibition is a true celebration of women’s determination and high-level achievement. “For many this has occurred in the face of extreme prejudice, and often alongside multi-tasking situations.”
Melissa Clark Reynolds and Bev Short will speak at the opening on 26 April from 5.30pm. There will be a series of lunchtime talks from women associated with All Woman throughout the duration of exhibition. For more dates and times see: www.portraitgallery.nzl.org.
All Woman – A Modern Portrait of New Zealand Women by Bev Short
NZ Portrait Gallery, Shed 11, Wellington Waterfront
27th April – 8th July
Open 7 days: 10.30am – 4.30pm. Admission free www.portraitgallery.nzl.org I 04 472 8874
FOR further information, images or interview requests contact:
Robyn McLean m: 021 848481 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fiona Kidman is one of the women featured in this exhibition.