Tom Hutchins

Wheat harvesting on 'Red Star' farm, Peking (Beijing), China, 1956

1956
gelatin silver print
172mm x 243mm

signed Tom Hutchins and inscribed [R6-8: WHEAT HARVESTING ON “RED STAR” FARM, PEKING, CHINA, 1956] in graphite verso

Provenance

Private collection, Auckland.

Literature

John B. Turner ed., Tom Hutchins: Seen in China 1956 (Auckland/Beijing: Turner PhotoBooks, 2016), 15.

Essay

Tom Hutchins, critic, educator and journalist, is an important figure in the history of New Zealand photography practice and teaching, though his work is only now gaining broade...

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Estimate $400 - $700
Achieved $390.40

Tom Hutchins

Coolies pulling a cart past a government's Buick car, Peking (Beijing), China, 1956

1956

gelatin silver print

signed Tom Hutchins and inscribed ‘COOLIES PULLING A CART PAST A GOVERMENT’S BUICK CAR, PEKING, CHINA, 1956’ and C160/22 in graphite verso

155mm x 235mm

Auction N˚5

Estimate $400 - $700

Achieved $480.50

Footnotes
  1. John B. Turner, Tom Hutchins Seen in China 1956, or, Photoforum 86 (Auckland/Beijing: Photoforum, 2016) was published on the occasion of the international debut of the exhibition Tom Hutchins Seen in China 1956 as part of the 2016 Pingyao International Photography Festival in Shanxi, China. An online gallery with a growing selection of Hutchins’ China photographs is available at www.jbt.photoshelter.com
  2. “Tom Hutchins Interviewed by Terry O’Connor,” Photoforum Supplement, ed. John B. Turner, Summer 1977-78, 19. Noted at the end of the interview is that it took place in 1975, two years before publication.
  3. “Red China on the March,” Life, Vol. 42, No. 3. 21 January 1957, 107-115.
  4. “Tom Hutchins Interviewed,” 18.
  5. ibid., 19.
  6. Turner, 5; see also John B. Turner “Tom Hutchins in China, 1956,” Art New Zealand 160, Summer 2016-17, 110-115.
  7. “Tom Hutchins Interviewed,” 19.

Personal Contact: Tom Hutchins in China

by Frances Clark

Tom Hutchins, critic, educator and journalist, is an important figure in the history of New Zealand photography practice and teaching, though his work is only now gaining broader recognition. Lanchow, China 1956; Wheat Harvesting on ‘Red Star’ Farm, Peking, China, 1956; Working Party on Railway Water Channel in Desert, Yumen, China 1956; and Coolies Pulling a Cart Past Government Buick Car, Peking, China, 1956, all signed by and printed under the supervision of Hutchins in the early 2000s, are from a much larger body of work consisting of the thousands of photographs that Hutchins took during a four-month journey through China in the summer of 1956. Although China was at the time in a period of tentative opening-up, Americans remained unable to gain entry, and even for a New Zealander—a supposedly permissible variety of Westerner—getting a visa was difficult and far from guaranteed. When Hutchins eventually was issued a visa and crossed from Hong Kong into China in May 1956, he became the first Western photojournalist since Cartier-Bresson to visit China and do significant work there.

Despite the merit and timeliness of Hutchins’ 1956 China work, it has remained hidden for decades. Hutchins’ friend and former colleague at the University of Auckland, John B. Turner, has been coordinating efforts to print, research and show Hutchins’ China images for almost thirty years, and last year was able to arrange for the work to be publicly exhibited for the first time.¹ Turner’s efforts in bringing these images to light constitute the first substantive opportunity for a broader public to see the photographs since Life magazine published a selection of them in 1957.