Sunday, August 21, 2011

CHRISTCHURCH - a portrait of yesterdays

The author spent the first week of February – two weeks before the earth moved – shooting a photographic essay of Christchurch and the suburbs to complement photographs he had taken in the early 1950s. His colour photographs taken in February suddenly became yesterday’s pictures. The photograph on the front cover of the Cathedral was taken on 2 February, 20 days before the earthquake.

Christchurch, the suburbs and the surrounding town centres were dealt a severe body blow when the earthquake of Tuesday, 22 February 2011, struck at 12.51pm. It was New Zealand’s worst disaster in modern times.
This book takes a look back in time at the city and suburbs before the magnitude 6.3 earthquake flattened much of its iconic structures and heritage buildings. It is a pictorial journey in both black and white and colour of a city in happier times; a book of memories, of a city beloved by New Zealanders and beyond; a city known for being ‘very English’ because of its style of architecture and many inner-city greens.
Punting on the Avon River, dining on the ‘strip’ in Oxford Terrace, taking a ride on a tourist tram, the Arts Centre, the Pier at New Brighton, and much more, are all part of life in this unique city. 

About the author:
Graham Stewart is the author of 20 books including The End of the Penny Section, The Tangiwai Disaster – a Christmas Eve Tragedy, Auckland Before the Harbour Bridge, Wellington – Portrait of a Region, New Zealand – Portrait of a Nation, Napier – Portrait of an Art Deco City, Wellington – The Best Little Capital City in the World, Wellington from Above, and Dunedin – A Portrait of Today and Yesterday.  Recently Graham received the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to historical research and photography.  

Graham Stewart has kindly allowed me to reproduce several photographs from the book. I have chosen them on the basis that these building are largely no longer there and hence the photographs have special historic value.

This bottom shot shows Fisher’s building (1880) a classic example of Venetian Gothic architecture, gone forever.

1 comment:

Rachel Fenton said...

Oh wow. What a memorial of a book.