For more than two decades Stefan Roberts’ photographs have insisted that our experience and memory of the world in which we live is far more than the realities that we believe give certainty to the familiarities of our lives. Rather than seeking out given representations and measured or reassuring images as generalisations of lived experience, Roberts seeks out the moments in between, his camera insisting on the reality of circumstances that seem continually in a state of fleeting transformation, intangible yet documented by his camera and unexpectedly revealed as evidence of an inexplicable yet authentic reality.
He describes his exhibition, Waterlog, at PGgallery192, as an exploration of water as a pivotal and vulnerable force within nature, commenting that in his work, ‘the water that shapes and informs the environment has been allowed to alter and shape the photographic interpretation of the landscape. Just as water’s influence on the environment is gradual, so is the photographic process. The images have been formed using a single continuous exposure lasting between 4 months and a year. During this time precipitation has been gradually collected within the image-forming chamber of my unique pinhole camera. With the water in direct contact with the photographic medium, it is free to assert its influence over the formation of the image. It marks and rots the surface of the paper negative; it forges paths like new wandering rivers. The process moves the photograph from being a trace; it appears both like a faded memory and a warning of the fragility of our environment.’ Roberts has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions and his work is held in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Stefan Roberts, Waterlog
PGgallery192, 192 Bealey Avenue
6 September – 1 October
4. Stefan Roberts, Waiau River - Waterlog , pin hole camera