Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On Monday evening I attended a somewhat unusual book launch. Somewhat unusual in that the venue was not somewhere one would normally hold such an event, and the book being launched contains no words.

The book is YOU ARE HERE by noted NZ art photographer Harvey Benge with whom I spoke following the launch at WORLD in central Auckland's High Street.

I notice your book is published by the German publisher .
How did this come about?

The art photography arena is very small internationally, one is able
to meet people involved in the business easily and quickly.
I met publisher Markus Schaden through a curator and gallerist friend also in Cologne

Art books are normally launched in art galleries or bookshops but you
launched yours in a fashion store?

Yes, because I wanted to do something out of the ordinary. I have my
books in Colette,the house of style and design in Paris. WORLD is New Zealand's
equivalent and besides I really like Francis and Denise and admire their taste and sensibilities.......

You said in your remarks that all the photographs were taken in the same city,
Tokyo, and this was a first for you. Can you tell us something about how you
went about collecting these pics. Were they taken on one visit?

No, two visits...... on my way to Paris. I love Tokyo and have
friends there, it seemed natural to stop over and investigate the visual buzz of that place.

Presumably you take many more photos than are finally used? How difficult is
the selection process?

I might use one percent if I'm lucky. Because I'm looking at
building some sort of narrative in my books and as my ideas are often somewhat abstract finding pictures that work for me is often difficult.

What sort of camera do you normally use?

I always just point and shoot..... so I use a top of the line
amateur Nikon and an Olympus miji

You are comparatively unknown as an artist in NZ and yet you enjoy a high
profile in Europe where you exhibit and lecture every year and even live in
Paris and other European cities for several months each year. Is this a case
of the prophet being unknown in his own country?

It's not really the case that I'm unknown here..... amongst people
who know photography my work is well known.....for example I've just been included in the handsome new edition
INTO THE LIGHT - A history of New Zealand Photography. As I work for
long periods in Europe I think it's a case of over extending myself and working on
too many fronts at once.,Napoleon learnt about that the hard way.

Where did you get the title? This is your 11th title.
How difficult do you find coming up with something that pleases you?

YOUR ARE HERE, a street sign in Tokyo where the only English was
Rest in Japanese, so in effect I didn't know where the hell I
was..... a metaphor for life in fact.
People seem to like the titles of my books...... normally they come
to me very easily....

Harvey Benge sees things in cities that I am sure I would not even notice. He has an "eye" for the unusual which is wonderfully illustrated in his latest work.
Here are three pics from YOU ARE HERE

Two editions have been published:

250 run of the normal edition, signed and numbered - $55

25 of deluxe slip-case edition - with signed and numbered print of
Tokyo Girl No1 - $250

Original prints available of selected images, edition of 10, 195mm x
245mm signed and numbered $480

other images and sizes, prices on request.

For copies of the book, prints or information email Harvey at:

The book is also available from WORLD deluxe, Little High Street,57 High Street, Auckland.

Harvey Benge information:
Tel: France: 06 29 83 74 31 New Zealand: 021 146 0672
http://harveybenge.comYOU ARE HERE from Cologne


Anonymous said...

I was at that party at World.Cool cool book blasted off in a cool cool space.

Anonymous said...

yes, great party, great book, cool is so right......

Anonymous said...

I was there too. Never heard of this dude Harvey before but I guess I was invited as a customer of World deluxe?
My friend told me baby doll told me about your blog. Hey!
Bought the book, the first book I've bought this year! Really cool babe.Love the pics.

Anonymous said...

Well I wasn't there, and I'm certainly not cool, but I love the images you have shown and will be in to World at 57 High St to check out the book when I am in the city next week doing my Christmas shopping.