Anne Noble’s photography deals with the imaginative possibilities of photography, and the contemplative nature of looking which it encourages. Her work often seems to invoke a sense of reverie, or waking dream, through the use of unusual compositions and evocative subject matter. Noble’s career was launched by her 1982 Serjeant Gallery show The Wanganui, followed in 1990 by In the presence of angels – photographs of the contemplative life, a series documenting life in a London convent for a silent order of Benedictine nuns. The ongoing series Ruby’s Room (1998-2007) consists of photographs of the artist’s daughter, focusing on her mouth, and comments on the nature of childhood and motherhood.
A large part of Noble’s work since 2001 has been devoted to photographing Antarctica, seeking to unravel the complex narratives of exploration, environmentalism and the sublime which surround this “last frontier” of the 21st century. More recently, Noble’s Nature Study series (2015) investigates the nexus of ecology, biology and poetics surrounding bees. Noble was awarded the US National Science Foundation Artists and Writers Award in 2008, the Massey University Research Medal as well as an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate award in 2009, and the 31st Higashikawa Overseas Photographer Award in 2015. She was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2003, for services to photography. Noble is a Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts at Massey University Wellington.