I have been a photographer for most of my adult…
Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere – a liminal landscape
Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere is a broad, shallow coastal lake or waituna, in the Canterbury region of the South Island of New Zealand. One of New Zealand’s most important wetland ecosystems and of significant cultural importance to Ngāi Tahu, being a major source of mahinga kai (food gathering), and an important source of mana (prestige & spiritual power)
This work aims to chronicle the intrinsic beauty of these surroundings while also spotlighting the crucial importance of continuing the work in restoring and safeguarding the lake against the dual threats of human activity and climate change.
Photographs were made using large format and pinhole cameras and printed using the platinum palladium process onto vellum that is gilding on the reverse side with silver leaf. The print process used helps highlight the poignant juxtaposition between the infinite longevity of platinum prints and the ephemeral existence of the landscape they depict. The last three prints in the series have employed the use of the Mordancage process on the camera film negative to recognise the hidden environmental damage already inflicted but that is not always obvious.
Stuart Clook is a photographer and printmaker who finds inspiration in the aesthetic traditions of the late 19th-century Pictorial and Tonalism movements for his artistic work. His commitment to using time-honoured printing processes such as platinum, carbon transfer, cyanotype, and gum bichromate reflects his deep passion and dedication to capturing the essence and drama of the New Zealand landscape and its flora.
For Stuart, these techniques are not just tools; they are the very medium through which he interprets the natural world. Each project reflects a delicate balance between control and serendipity, resulting in prints that are both unique and an invitation for viewers to escape the rapid pace of modern life.
Cameras: 4×5 Lensless, RealitySoSubtle 4x5Z and 1 photograph with my Chamonix 45f2