Te Papa brings Brian Brake photographs to Hastings

27 February 2015

A Te Papa touring exhibition exploring the works of celebrated New Zealand photographer Brian Brake opens at the Hastings City Art Gallery tomorrow.

Brian Brake: Lens on China and Japan is open at the Hastings City Art Gallery from 28 February to 1 June 2015.

The exhibition features 32 superb photographs from Te Papa’s collection, as well as documentary footage and examples of magazines in which Brake’s work appeared.

This is not the first time Te Papa has brought artworks to Hawke’s Bay.

“Hastings City Art Gallery has been fortunate to host a number of exhibitions with the support of Te Papa. We are delighted to bring Brian Brake’s wonderful photographs to Hawke’s Bay,” says Hastings City Art Gallery’s Exhibition Coordinator Kirsten Kelly.

The exhibition is part of Te Papa’s broader programme to work with regional museums and galleries.

“We work hard to ensure all New Zealanders, regardless of where they live, can see our national treasures,” Te Papa’s Chief Executive Rick Ellis says.

“Brian Brake was New Zealand’s best known photographer, celebrated for his international photojournalism and definitive images of New Zealand,” says Te Papa Photography Curator Athol McCredie.

“This exhibition offers two slices from Brian Brake’s long career; rare photographs of China he took in the late 1950s, and those of Japan in 1963 and 1964 before the Tokyo Olympics,” says Mr McCredie.

“This exhibition gives an unprecedented insight into Brake’s view of China and Japan,” he says.

The exhibition is made possible by the generous gift of Brake’s photographic archive to Te Papa from Wai-man Lau.

About Brian Brake

Brake’s career began in the mid-1950s when he worked as a globe-trotting photojournalist for the renowned Paris photo agency Magnum. His most famous photographs were taken in 1960, when he shot the ‘Monsoon’ series in India. This work was seen around the world in picture magazines such as Life and Paris Match.

During the 1960s Brake began to work more exclusively for Life magazine during the final decade of the international picture magazines. For Life magazine it was a time of grand projects and big budgets, and an increasing use of colour. Brake returned to New Zealand in 1976 to concentrate on photographing for coffee table books on art objects, such as Art of the Pacific and Craft New Zealand. He passed away in 1988.

Media contact

Rachael Bruce
04 381 7071 or 029 601 0010

Notes to editors

Images of photographs featured in the exhibition are available on request.