‘50 Greatest Photographs’ by National Geographic

On now at Te Manawa Art Gallery

It is small wonder that ’50 Greatest Photographs’ has captured the imagination of New Zealanders, which includes 50 images selected from a photographic archive spanning over 120 years, personal commentary by the photographers, and in some cases "near frame" photos taken before and after the perfect shot.  The result is a beautifully textured and rich collection of imagery and words that have the potential to form and reshape one’s understanding of our world.  “It really causes you to stop, think, re-think, and come back”, says Kristelle Plimmer, Concepts and Engagement Leader at Te Manawa Museum.  “Once just doesn’t seem to be enough to view the exhibition and take in all that it is conveying.  Perhaps that’s the definition of a good exhibition.  We like to think so at least”.

Genny Vella, City Cultural Coordinator of Palmerston North Libraries and Community Services couldn’t agree more.  “You can’t help but be moved by this exhibition.  There’s no doubt that some of the images are shocking.  But there’s also this interesting quality about others in that, at first glance, it is almost possible to miss the essence of the image because of their resemblance to what we know as ordinary. The layers of complexity start to unfold on deeper examination, and with reading the photographer’s commentary.  I found that in some cases it required a kind of collective recollection and conversation with friends, who inevitably saw things, and read meanings that I missed.  It’s one of these collections that has the ability to be affecting in much deeper ways than one realises at the time of viewing”.

"I highly recommend this exhibition for viewing" says Kristelle.  "It is a great opportunity for school groups, multicultural groups and interest groups to experience together, and with viewing times daily, return visits are welcomed and encouraged.  People can also leave a poetic response to the photographs, or to the exhibition as a whole, by visiting Poet's Station in the exhibition gallery.  This is our way of encouraging the community to reflect on and respond to what they've seen". 

’50 Greatest Photographs’ is open for viewing daily from 8 August to 11 November 2015 at Te Manawa Art Gallery, 326 Main Street, Palmerston North.  Entry is by donation.