Maman x Ans Westra by {Suite} Gallery

Ans Westra CNZM is one of New Zealand’s best known social documentary photographers. Westra was born in Leiden, Netherlands in 1936 and qualified as an arts and crafts teacher in Rotterdam. In 1954 she began taking photographs as a hobby, inspired by New York’s Museum of Modern Art landmark touring exhibition The Family of Man. In 1957, aged twenty-one, she arrived in New Zealand to visit her father, who had earlier migrated to this country.

Westra used a medium-format, waist-level viewfinder camera for most of her life. She felt that it allowed her to be more unobtrusive: ‘You don’t put it up to your eyes, so you don’t obscure your own vision. People are not nearly so aware of a little box at waist level, so you don’t interrupt your own interaction with the scene, and I interact as little as possible.... people seem to forget about me really.’

Westra’s photographs sit within a humanist tradition of photography. They are empathetic, warm, and affirm human values. She often captured telling moments of gesture and interaction - a glance, touch or stance:  ‘In my photography I’m looking for communication between people and the right moment. Catching the right moment in full swing. One that sums up an emotion.’

In 1998 Westra was awarded the Companion of the Order of New Zealand Merit for services to photography; in 2007 she became an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Icon artist; and in 2015 she received an honorary doctorate from Massey University in recognition of her long-standing contribution to New Zealand’s visual culture.

Maman is proud to partner with {Suite} Gallery to bring some of her work to our Auckland boutique. An incredible selection of her black and white photographs, and a select few colour pieces are available to view in-store as well as purchase.

For all expressions of interest please reach out to Briar Williams at (Suite) Gallery by clicking the button below.

Register your Expression of Interest



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