With guest curator Anita Totha

Coming from New York, I landed in the very foreign (and faraway) world of New Zealand almost two years ago. Although the same language is spoken, visual surroundings in the earthly landscapes and cultural differences are worlds apart. Volcanoes, lush greenery and wide open spaces are the opposite of what you might find in New York City, with its organized concrete grids, confined spaces and skyscrapers.

With my background in photography, I was eager to focus on what sets New Zealand apart from the rest of the photography world. From an outsider’s perspective, the difference lies not only in the country’s geographical isolation, but in the pace of life. This allows photographers to explore, observe and capture their environs as they naturally unfold.

In collaborating with Light Journeys, my aim is to share these impressions, through a variety of photographic work from a few of New Zealand’s emerging women photographers. Shelley Jacobson’s photographs look at the perception of land use in nature and how it is strictly controlled by governmental authority, while Edith Amituanai’s portraits speak of personal connection to her subjects and Samoan roots.  Explorations of light are discovered in Lisa Clunie’s vibrant photogram’s, compared with the transient, orderly spaces in official buildings in Caryline Boreham’s images. Lastly, photographs from Meighan Ellis’ series Sitters and Sites are collections of portraits from her observations, lending clues to prior relationships and experiences.



Deeply rooted in her Samoan heritage, Edith Amituanai depicts the relationship between her ancestry and New Zealand birthplace by crafting intimate portraits of those closest to her.  The portrait of a rugby player in his parents’ home surrounded by school portraits and family heirlooms, a young boy named Isaac presenting himself proudly on White Sunday and young girls on their way to a school ball in Auckland, all portray a strong culture that is bound by a deep sense of pride.

Amituanai completed her Masters of Fine Arts at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 2009 and has exhibited her photographs in New Zealand, Europe & Asia.



State Space is a series by Caryline Boreham that investigates controlled spaces within Government institutions, such as Customs facilities, police custody units and hospitals. These purely functional sites of order and discipline become transient spaces, where governmental employees, prisoners and the public may pass through temporarily. Boreham’s photographs capture remnants of human presence within these still and sterile environments.

Boreham received her Masters of Fine Arts at Elam School of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland in 2010 and has exhibited internationally, more recently in Auckland.



Lisa Clunie’s photograms are pure creations of explorations of light, all performed while working in the confines of a darkroom. Clunie uses domestic items, such as toys, balls, marbles and vases, to create bold and colourful light explosions that become playful takes on cosmic phenomena and the extraordinary.

Clunie is currently a candidate for a Masters in Philosophy at ANU in Canberra, Australia. She has shown her photographs throughout New Zealand, Australia, the United States and United Kingdom and currently lives and works in Northland, New Zealand.



Meighan Ellis’ Sitters are photographed from afar, known as scopophilia, a love of looking from a distance, from behind a camera. The portraits are made of her friends and acquaintances from various places where she has lived or passed through, masculine “beauties” making the natural evolution from boyhood to becoming a man. Similar are Ellis’ photographs of Sites, observations and collections of lone, solitary and singular figures that conjure up memories of a place of significance, or a shared past.

In 2009, Ellis completed her Masters Degree of Fine Arts at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. She has lived in Tokyo, Sydney and London and is currently based in Auckland.


For Temporal Landscapes, Shelley Jacobson explores our perceptions of land use control through social, political and economic systems in New Zealand. She depicts the various stages of gold mining at a particular site in the Hauraki area of Northern New Zealand, including the promotion of land use “rehabilitation” and “restoration” before and after the exploitation of the natural resources.

Jacobson completed her Masters Degree of Fine Arts at Massey University in Wellington, NZ in 2009 and has exhibited recently in Auckland and Wellington, NZ.


ANITA TOTHA is a photographer and curator from New York.  She attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where she majored in photography and completed internships with internationally renowned artist/photographer Simen Johan and the Yossi Milo Gallery, which specializes in contemporary photography. Anita then subsequently worked at the gallery for the next 4 years, gaining experience in gallery business dealings, curation, exhibitions and art fairs.  She has given lectures at the State University of New York, as well as various Auckland universities on the business of photography. Anita is currently based in Auckland, New Zealand and is co-founder of Tangent, a New Zealand contemporary photography collective.