Landscape specialist to give annual photography lecture

One of Professor Jem Southam's most renowned images The Pig, the Lamb and the Goat


Professor Jem Southam

One of the most respected British photographers of the last 25 years, colour landscape specialist Jem Southam, delivers a public talk organised by Massey University’s Wellington College of Creative Arts on Saturday.

Professor Southam will be delivering the annual Peter Turner Memorial Lecture at Te Papa’s Soundings Theatre on Saturday March 10 at 6.30pm. His lecture titled Landscape Stories: Encounters, Voices and Pictures will address the complexity of the landscape genre in the light of his own career as a photographer, whose work results from the patient observation of singular sites, usually near where he lives, over long periods of time.

Professor Southam’s work has been the subject of many solo exhibitions dating back to the 1980s at venues including the Victoria and Albert Museum and part of international collections featured in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Museum Folkswang, Dusseldorf and the Yale Centre for British Art at New Haven.

As Professor of Photography at Plymouth University, Professor Southam has developed a method of slow accrual of images, which are then presented in structured narratives revealing a complexity of personal, political, literary, psychological and cultural associations.

While now working digitally, much of Professor Southam’s work has been made using a large format camera to produce 8 x 10 inch colour negatives. This is a slowed-down time-consuming image making process that requires patience and precision. When the resulting large format negatives are then enlarged to create c-type prints, the images reveal an extraordinary level of detail and degrees of tonal subtlety rarely matched by contemporary digital means.

The annual Peter Turner Memorial Lecture is hosted by Massey University, and each year brings to New Zealand an international photographer, theorist or historian, to discuss their work in the expanded field of contemporary documentary photography. The lecture was established in memory of the late Peter Turner, author, editor, curator and former teacher at the Wellington School of Design. Whiti o Rehua – The School of Art also offers a Masters scholarship in documentary photography in Peter Turner’s name.

Distinguished Professor Anne Noble from the School of Art says Professor Southam is a notable addition to the list of photographers who have previously headlined the lecture.

“In a world where our experience of time is shaped by the traffic of instant photographic images on social media, Jem Southam’s slowly accrued photographic narratives of singular places as us to stop still and reflect on environmental change within much larger and longer time frames.”

Professor Southam’s lecture is part of Wellington’s biennial Photobook New Zealand Festival that showcases artists’ photobooks published by New Zealand and international small presses at a photobook fair at Te Papa on Friday and Saturday March 10-11. The New Zealand Photobook of the Year Awards will be announced at the Festival launch on March 10 at 7.30pm.

The Peter Turner Memorial Lecture is on at 6.30pm, Saturday March 10, Soundings Theatre, Te Papa, Wellington. Go to for more details


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