Thursday, March 31, 2016

Women Apart: Life in the Wild Catlins

Women of the Catlins
Life in the Deep South
By Diana Noonan & Cris Antona
Release Date: April 2016
 ISBN 978-1-877578-97-7, $49.95

The wild Catlins is a remote and intense environment: extraordinarily beautiful and challenging to live in. Women of the Catlins lifts the lid on women’s day-to-day reality in this outpost of the south. This book is the first in-depth look at the lives of people from the area.

‘We have followed 26 Catlins women into their homes and workplaces and invited them to speak for themselves on topics as diverse as family, employment, hopes, challenges, and their relationship with the environment,’ says editor Diana Noonan.

Women of the Catlins is a revelatory and collaborative work. Photographer Cris Antona has engaged with the women in their everyday settings to produce a series of powerful photographs that give insight into each of their stories. The black and white images dynamically capture individual character.

‘The women’s emotions and attitudes, their connections with the land and can-do attitudes were what I tried to capture in the photography,’ says Cris.

This cross-generational documentary is an inclusive, rich account of how women navigate their lives in this isolated region (where it rains more than in anywhere else in New Zealand and is subject to Antarctic weather).

‘The process of being interviewed was a process of discovery for many, says Diana. ‘The first time they’d reflected on their working lives, family, their relationship to the community and to the land.’

A sumptuous testament to ordinary women doing extraordinary things Women of the Catlins is a stunning close-up look at life in this far-from-the-mainstream region.

As broadcaster Kim Hill writes in the foreword, ‘This book is about the way New Zealand used to be, and also about the way New Zealand could yet be. It’s about indomitable spirit, true grit, all that stuff. Plus, it’s a beautiful thing! Enjoy. Envy. Be inspired

Diana Noonan is a freelance journalist and author of many highly acclaimed books for young people. She has won numerous national and international awards for her writing. Diana lives on the Catlins coast with her husband Keith Olsen, an illustrator.

Born in Catalonia and now living in New Zealand, Cris Antona has always been fascinated by the way photography can tell stories. She has worked on social documentary photography, and also as an exhibition concept developer, commissioner and digital creative director of a range of multimedia projects. Currently, she is a senior lecturer at Otago Polytechnic leading e-learning and digital solutions.

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