Shelter once, and perhaps again

Image: Su Leslie 2019

Nothing left but the facade. Heritage buildings in Cuba Street, Wellington, NZ undergoing redevelopment in the wake of the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.

Image: Su Leslie 2019

Retail and apartment living; redeveloping heritage buildings in Wellington’s Cuba Street.

One Word Sunday | shelter

No visitors today — or any day soon

The Bath House, home of Rotorua Museum, closed until further notice. Image: Su Leslie 2019

The 2016 earthquake centred around Kaikoura in the South Island, left its mark on many other parts of New Zealand.

Seven hundred kilometres away, the much-loved (and much-photographed) 1908 Bath House in Government Gardens, Rotorua, was deemed unsafe for use and closed for earthquake strengthening.

North Wing, The Bath House, Rotorua. Image: Su Leslie 2019

The processes of working out how strengthening can be done, how long it will take — and how much it will cost — are underway.

Meanwhile, there are no visitor voices in the rather lovely galleries, and no footsteps on the parquet floors.

Posted to Silent Sunday

The will of an epoch?

Downtown Auckland, from Devonport Ferry. Image: Su Leslie

Last week for Debbie’s One Word Sunday, I showed you the lovely old Ferry Terminal in Auckland — only slightly dwarfed by its new neighbours.

This week the theme is new — so I’m giving a bit more context. At street level, it’s clear that some heritage architecture remains, but as with most cities, new-builds dominate the skyline.

Leaving the city behind; view from departing ferry. Image: Su Leslie

The Ferry Terminal is still partly visible behind some white sheds, but steel and glass rule in 21st century Auckland.

“Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space.” — Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

For a slightly different take on “new”, the photo below of the Ferry Terminal was taken in 1916.

The catalogue description says:

Looking south from the jib of a floating crane near Queens Wharf over the city towards Karangahape Road and Mt Eden, showing Quay Street West along foreshore, with the Ferry Building (left), Auckland Harbour Board offices, Albert Street (to the right), Auckland Sailors Home (extreme right), and the Ferry Wharf with the ferries Kestrel, Britannia, Pupuke and Osprey (from left to right)

Photo Credit: Winkelmann, Henry. Taken 12 January 1916. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W1732

Posted to One Word Sunday | new

Daily Post Photo Challenge: unlikely

Shot of damaged and deconsecreated Chistchurch Cathedral; through chainlink fencing. The Cathedral was extensively damaged by earthquakes in September 2010 February 2011, June 2011 and December 2011. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Christchurch Cathedral; extensively damaged by earthquakes in September 2010, February 2011, June 2011 and December 2011. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Christchurch Cathedral has a long history of “unlikely.”

It was first planned (and land set aside) in 1850, the year in which the first four ships carrying European settlers began to arrive in the area. (1)

It was a hugely ambitious project for a city that existed largely on paper, and it took a decade for plans to be drawn up (by British architect George Gilbert Scott, who never actually visited the site). Scott’s original plan was for a wooden church in his signature Gothic Revival style, but the then Bishop of Christchurch, Henry Harper, wanted a stone building. Revised plans were drawn and the cornerstone was laid in December 1864.

Lack of money — hardly surprising in a settlement of less than 1000 European settlers — held the project up for almost another decade, and it must have seemed unlikely that fledgling Christchurch would ever get a cathedral.

Christchurch Cathedral was consecrated 1881, and finally completed in 1904. (2)

Christchurch Cathedral, shored up after the tower and Rose Window collapsed in earthquakes. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Christchurch Cathedral, shored up after the spire and Rose Window collapsed during the 2011 earthquakes. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

But New Zealand is not called “the shaky isles” for nothing, and earthquakes have repeatedly damaged the building — beginning in 1881, within a month on consecration.

During the terrible period between September 2010 and December 2011 when the Christchurch area suffered repeated, large-scale (and fatal) quakes, damage was so extensive that the cathedral had to be completely abandoned.

The February 2011 quake, which claimed 185 lives, completely destroyed the church spire and initially there were fears that up to 20 people may have been inside at the time (it was a tourist attraction). Thankfully, that was not the case.

Since 2011, there has been an on-going battle over the future of the cathedral — between the church which wanted to demolish it, and heritage groups arguing the building is an important part of the city’s heritage and should be preserved.

For a long time it’s seemed unlikely that Christchurch Cathedral would be re-built. But in September 2017, after intervention from the New Zealand government, the uncertainty ended and it was announced that the cathedral will be re-instated. (2)

Daily Post Photo Challenge | unlikely

As an aside: two separate lines of the Big T’s ancestors arrived in New Zealand on the fourth of those ships, the Cressy, in December 1850.

  1. Early Christchurch, a brief history. Christchurch City Libraries
  2. Christchurch Cathedral, Wikipedia


DP Photo Challenge: experimental

Awhitu Central Church, Awhitu Peninsula, NZ. Colour image, edited with soft-focus. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Awhitu Central Church, Awhitu Peninsula, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Experiment: A scientific procedure undertaken to make a discovery, test a hypothesis, or demonstrate a known fact.

There are lots of way to experiment in photography; many in-camera (aperture, shutter speed, etc) and many more in post-processing (everything from cropping to applying filters).

Most of the time, most of us would probably say we experiment to make a “better” photograph. This of course raises the question of what makes one image better than another. Much of it is technical stuff: is it in focus? Grainy? Blurry? Have we managed not to cut granny off at the neck? Is the horizon actually horizontal?

But beyond that, how do we feel about an image? What emotion does it evoke? What story does it tell — about the subject? About the photographer?

Photography is a language which — whether we realise it or not — we are all quite adept at reading. Constant exposure to professionally produced photographic images (still and moving) in newspapers, magazine editorial, advertising, TV shows and movies — and more recently social media — has developed our photographic literacy.

So my experiment for the Daily Post’s Experimental Photo Challenge is to take a single image and create multiple edits. Do these differences in editing affect how you read the image?

You tell me?