Flash Back: Fashion photography in New Zealand 1930-2015

Past exhibition

International magazines like Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar must cater to a very diverse range of consumers. Local magazines on the other hand, target local audiences and so they offer an opportunity to cultivate a unique local style. Flash Back: Fashion photography in New Zealand 1930-2015 is an exhibition of the work of 25 fashion photographers who have contributed to the development and articulation of our unique New Zealand identity.


Flash Back opened in June 2015 as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography where it was presented digitally. Images from all eras were curated into magazine style editorial around shared themes such as light, urban, narrative and were projected as a floor-to-ceiling immersive magazine with turning pages. The artistry of the photographers was celebrated in a room height slideshow of striking image while profiles of the photographers and their ouvre were presented on large TV screens. The exhibition includes two pioneers of the 1930s, Clifton Firth and Gordon Burt plus key photographers from the decades between them and the young guns of today such as James K Lowe.

Because fashion is synonymous with newness and change, its photographers have always been leaders in cultural reproduction and advancement. While their images have a commercial purpose that does not diminish their social, cultural and artistic value. By bringing together eighty years of fashion photography, Flash Back allows us to see how our society and identity has changed; how we see ourselves and what we value. The exhibition tracks the evolution of our fashion photography industry - moving from studio work, to street photography, to narrative storytelling to the current day where photographers are navigating the challenges of creating distinction in the overload of images that is social media and the universal availability of post-production technology.

Curated by Doris de Pont and Kelly Dix.

Supported by Foundation North, The Lion Foundation, The Gus Fisher Gallery.

Watch a video of fashion photographs from our 2017 exhibition, Flash Back.

When & where

2 - 30 June 2017

Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland