Ans Westra

Hikurangi, 1982

1982
gelatin silver print
292mm x 238mm

signed Ans W in ink verso

Provenance

Private collection, Wellington.

Literature

Ans Westra and Katerina Mataira, Whaiora: The Pursuit of Life (Wellington: Allen & Unwin, 1985), 53.

Collections

Another from the edition in the collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki (acquired 1997).

Essay

Hikurangi is the plain descriptive title of a black and white documentary photograph made by Ans Westra in 1982. Its basic denotation is straightforward: a man (a backb...

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Estimate $4,000 - $7,000
Achieved $4,805

Ans Westra

Hikurangi, 1982

1982

gelatin silver print

signed Ans W in ink verso

292mm x 238mm

Auction N˚5

Estimate $4,000 - $7,000

Achieved $4,805

Hikurangi

by Lawrence McDonald

Hikurangi is the plain descriptive title of a black and white documentary photograph made by Ans Westra in 1982. Its basic denotation is straightforward: a man (a backblocks barber) is cutting a boy’s hair. The boy may not be enjoying the experience. The two figures (father and son we presume) are tightly framed within a mid shot and occupy almost all the picture space, while the background is rendered in soft focus.

The most striking compositional feature of the photograph is its strong verticality. The rough garment wrapped around the boy’s shoulders and torso merges seamlessly with the man’s trousers and serves effectively to blend the two figures into one human column. The man’s downward posture and gaze are accentuated by the directional pull of the cigarette in his mouth and the scissors in his right hand, but are counterbalanced by the upward pressure exerted by his left hand that compresses the boy’s face, which is already somewhat distorted as a result of his tightly closed eyes. Tonally, the image has an overall bleached quality, with only the boy’s coal-black hair and the man’s belt providing areas of strong contrast.