syncretismassociates: Blog en-us (C) Michael Perkins (syncretismassociates) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:54:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:54:00 GMT syncretismassociates: Blog 120 64 The Hinterland - October 2015 I'm just writing the wall-text for my segment of the show at the moment. It's going to be really good though, everyone has made strong work and the theme has worked well for us. I'll put the wall-text here shortly. I think that I won't comment much more than that till after the show as I think that talking with people will be helpful for my processing.

(syncretismassociates) Sun, 27 Sep 2015 01:05:28 GMT
Moments etc group invitational show I'm currently in a group invitation show at Matchbox called Moments | Spaces | Time | Places (link) (or something like that, I think that all involved have got a little tired of typing it!). 

Primitive markings2015, digital c-type print A kind of peace2013, digital c-type print The longer the note was on the board the less sun bleached the board got2013, digital c-type print

They have hung The longer the note was on the board the less sun bleached the board got 90 degrees clockwise, but I have a feeling that it might actually be better that way, I'm not above responding openly to chance! I recently showed my sister a test print for a show in October and had it upside down for several minutes before correcting this, and she politely pointed out that it was not as good the 'right' way up. So be it.

There are some nice things in the show, including my friend Zara Pears showing some more of her boundary-pushing portraiture, do pop along and see it! The show title made me think about how I don't tend to treat bits of time or space as discrete lumps, rather I often compress them together. Even the light-painting work from a few years back was about the past and present together, and also they were long periods of time compressed into a frame. It's interesting. Still no snapshots for me!

The The Hinterland show in October is going to be great. I still have much to organise for my contribution, but it should just be manageable. It's going to be all-new work for me, and a bit of a branching off.

(syncretismassociates) Sun, 19 Jul 2015 09:35:00 GMT
The C word I accidentally called my pictures Conceptual the other day. It was a slip of the tongue, your honour, and no offence was intended. I may be ideas-driven, but I very much care about how things look, which I think disqualifies me from that particular race.

I went to a talk about Constructed photographs last year. I hated the subtitle "Artists Talk Process", process fetishism does seem to be becoming the new way to justify art photos. But as a catchall term Constructed is handy for me, as at least it stakes some ground out. The Photoforum formulation of "photography as a means of expression", seemed a little limp when I joined but now I'm seeing what language walls they were backed up against at the time.

Capitalism. Just kidding. It's not the 70's still... 

Charlotte Cotton's book is really useful to me. Otherwise I wouldn't have found out about Hannah Starkey as quickly. It also uses the Contemporary word, which is entertaining.

Chagall in Christchurch. Now, there's an idea. My childhood is certainly is as gone as his was! Found out today that my degree will not be offered from next week. Scarcity drives up value, right?

C*nt. Hah, you didn't think I would, did you? And I didn't. Where has shock value moved to? I have a package to forward on.

(syncretismassociates) Mon, 22 Dec 2014 07:20:21 GMT
Respite, in a sense Tomorrow evening my friend Zara Pears and I are opening a duo show called Respite, at Matchbox Studios

The blurb for my bit of the show says it pretty well, I reckon. It's:

"Michael Edge-Perkins is a Christchurch-born, Wellington-based photographer of objects. He works in a by-turns warmly and cooly haunted visual space that is bounded somehow by geometry, folk music, still life painting and psychology. His contribution to Respite looks at ways of bringing the outside to bear on what physically, mentally and spiritually troubles us.

You can see more of his work at, including his 2013 solo show at Matchbox, These things happen, which explored what it could mean to make folk photographs, and his contributions to the Matchbox group shows Jukebox, Metropolis, and View."

For me it's a bringing together of some older works that I've wanted to show for a while but hadn't found a meaningful way of grouping them. Zara's recent work about metaphorical escape from restrictions got me thinking about escapism, not in the usual somewhat pejorative sense of that word but in the sense of seeking relief from what's inside.

It's been a challenging year for me in terms of artistic production. I have two injured wrists, so camera handling and long writing spells have been out of the question for much of the time. This has however allowed for a fair whack of introspection and some new direction has come from this. Not too much to share as yet, sorry.

Here's the poster and my pictures from the show.


(syncretismassociates) Mon, 10 Nov 2014 09:18:05 GMT
New shoots?  

Note use of the word shoots in the correct sense of new growth, rather than the debased use that combines art with speed and violence.


(syncretismassociates) Tue, 22 Apr 2014 03:24:54 GMT
View group show at Matchbox View is a group exhibition curated by Matchbox Studios, starting tomorrow and running for a month. Because I like January shows, and moreover like a genre challenge, I volunteered seven pieces for the show. They are below.

The first one is, in person, 2m tall. I like working at scale. This one can draw you in with the small details, and then repel you with how poor a fit it is with any convention of landscape. This was made for the View show in particular.

My other contributions were in my back catalogue - I didn't think that I made many landscapes, but as always statistics challenge perception...

The show has the tagline "What's your landscape?" and I find that very fitting. My landscape doesn't play nicely.

They have not been exhibited before, although I had the honour of the second being the inside cover of The Eastern's third album Hope and Wire. Technically it is my most widely promulgated work!

All are for sale at the gallery and online for a month afterwards. They are editions of five.

DS4_5223DS4_5223 DS2_4850DS2_4850 DSC_8300DSC_8300 DS2_2654DS2_2654New Plymouth holiday 2011 DS2_2608DS2_2608New Plymouth holiday 2011 DSC_4865DSC_4865 Untitled-1 copyUntitled-1 copy

(syncretismassociates) Mon, 13 Jan 2014 08:51:49 GMT
Joanna Margaret Paul show

JMP has been a name in articles and books, and then very occasionally as a surprise presence in shows - I think Photospace was the last time that she snuck up on me.

You will not be surprised to learn that the picture that most grabbed me was the last one as shown here at Peter Ireland's review of the show. Shimmeringly intimate, and that colour is delightful. Do feel free to buy one of those for me. Thanks. 

The aggressive framing and formalism, the relentless pursuit of an idea, the touches of humour, the worldly domesticity - very inspiring.

Huge kudos to Robert Heald Gallery for bringing these to light.

(syncretismassociates) Thu, 24 Oct 2013 09:25:05 GMT
August 2013 show - Metropolis And below is the picture itself.

The shape of things to come (Christchurch 2010)


(syncretismassociates) Fri, 30 Aug 2013 23:50:13 GMT


(syncretismassociates) Sat, 27 Apr 2013 05:45:00 GMT
Post-show-reflection 1 I have a lot of de-briefing with myself to do about the These things happen show. It was a success in almost all aspects, certainly in more than I expected. 

But the real question is the real question - can you make a folk photograph? I'm still not sure. Ten people came in to work with me on making one, I think that most of them had seen the show beforehand (but I forgot to ask) so that might indicate that how I see things has some resonance. All of the ten had a story about a family member (eight ancestors, two other). I didn't anticipate this, although now it's astoundingly obvious that this would be the case. Family is the most direct way that people's pasts exist in the present. 

This might perversely re-assert my original thinking on this body of work, which was to try and find a role for the art photographer in a world of easy nostalgia filters. I say this because there was no family or biography in the main show, at least not intentionally. 

I will be reflecting some more on the show over the next few weeks and will post again as I get a better distance on it all. 

I am also going to investigate whether there is interest in other centres in having the show. If you could help me with this I would be most grateful!

(syncretismassociates) Mon, 18 Mar 2013 10:04:09 GMT
These things happen show announcement  


(syncretismassociates) Tue, 29 Jan 2013 04:45:00 GMT
2013 - fitter, happier, more productive What have I been up to?

These things happen will open on 5 March 2013 at Matchbox. It's been almost two years in the making (would have been more like 18 months but life and death got in the way). In many ways I've really gone out on a limb with this one, and in a few ways I really haven't. Tableau/still life is probably pretty tame-seeming (but I do feel a bit pleased that Fiona Pardington and Ben Cauchi have turned up in this genre a bit over the last few years). But for a quiet back-room person like me, putting my actual name on a poster, and putting on events where I'll be working artistically with people I've never met feels like a tectonic moment.

My hope for the show is that it will do people emotional good, and I trust that there will be kindness in the response to it. There's a Facebook page here where you can see more of the day-by-day stuff associated with the show and see how to get involved in the events attached to it. It's in the Fringe Festival, so there will be more attention on it (probably) than I initially planned, so I am hopeful that some future collaboration opportunities come out of it (hint, hint)

I also have a piece in another Matchbox group show opening 22 January. The show is called Jukebox and is a medley. I'm very pleased with my piece Safety orange # 13, 9, 7 - as an abstract it's visually pretty different from the other work, although to me there is a strong continuity in everything else about it. It's the largest print I've ever worked with and there may be some installation elements to it as well, so it's exciting new ground for me. I fear that large-scale printing may have become addictive!

Finally, I will be back in group mentoring with Jordyn from March onwards. I am hoping that feedback from the two shows will give me some more pathways to explore in 2013. 

Oh one more thing, here's a picture of a journey. This blog is a bit of one - it's swung between news, silence and limp introspection but this year will be more of me thinking aloud about my visual world. [Old posts have now been restored as well]


(syncretismassociates) 2013 Still lifes These things happen abstract news Tue, 08 Jan 2013 01:24:35 GMT
Paper makes a return I made a book with the US website I thought that a printed ‘portfolio’ would be handy to have around (ok, I had a coupon!).

And then I found out that I could put this widget here and people could buy their own copies. Yes, well. Let’s not get too carried away. But if you were mad enough to, there it is.

It’s been quiet on this blog as all my photo work is going into a new project. It’s coming along nicely, but is not ready for too much visibility as yet.


(syncretismassociates) Genre-challenged Wed, 17 Aug 2011 01:00:56 GMT
Teaser Here’s a sample of what I’m working on at the moment.

(syncretismassociates) Genre-challenged Still lifes Mon, 25 Apr 2011 00:44:28 GMT
Hunkering up, hunkering down Dearly beloved, I have gathered you here today to say “gosh, it’s been a while” and “how shall we avoid this again?” Jan-Feb was really busy with the exhibition. In the end I enjoyed it – the learning about how to work as a group to do an immense number of tasks was invaluable. I was satisfied with two of my three pieces (and sold the one I ended up not liking, so that was really handy!). You can see a Facebook replica of the whole show here.

Now, it’s onto another project. I’m not quite ready to talk about it yet, but I’m getting intensive mentoring through till August so will be ready to talk about it reasonably soon.

I have also been reading and, unlike most of the reviewers, generally enjoying The Photograph by Graham Clarke.

In the meantime, here are some performance portraits from the last couple of months – Shakespeare, Rosy Tin Teacaddy and The Eastern, otherwise known as a few of my favourite things.

Toodle-pip, and I shall try not to descend so deeply into the project that nothing comes out here.

(syncretismassociates) Still lifes Tue, 29 Mar 2011 03:19:28 GMT
Back from holiday I’m an urban person, but I prefer to holiday outside the city. That doesn’t sound profound. It’s a tendency (the holidaying, not the superficiality) that does have the advantage of getting engaged with landscape only a little bit. Which is good, because I don’t regard it as part of my thing although it can be fun from time to time. I was reading about the approach to landscape of early photographers and realised that my approach to it is to portray as largely asleep. Possibly ominously asleep, possibly just asleep. Not exactly transcendentalist! Anyway, here’s a landscape image from just before holiday times. It will hold the front page while I work on the other images garnered while away. Some might find the lens flare in this image intrusive. I haven’t decided whether it’s justifiable yet.
Red-toned landscape from Wellingtonp1027626117-5
Over on the portfolio site you can see how I spent New Years’ Eve.

(syncretismassociates) Genre-challenged landscape toning Tue, 18 Jan 2011 01:16:09 GMT
Next Exhibition image-making is done now, so I can move onto/back to other projects. However, you can use the below to keep track of the exhibition, The Great Indoors. It opens on 31 January 2011 in Wellington.

The Great Indoors | Promote your Page too

If your connection to Facebook is blocked, then you can scratch this URL onto a slate instead:

Will be spending some time down South over summer so this could lead to a few things, maybe some landscapes, definitely some musician portraits and hopefully some scope for still-lifes, given that they are supposed to be my primary field of endeavour. Speaking of the South (which sadly seems to be getting more and more associated with disasters) I made a quick visit to Christchurch after the quake and once I had checked on a few people and things came away with a couple of images.


(syncretismassociates) "the great indoors" Genre-challenged bw christchurch debris exhibition Fri, 26 Nov 2010 19:28:23 GMT
Awaiting the flash of inspiration I really like these. So geometric, so contrasty, so resonant. I also have so little idea of how to finish them. It feels like they are asking to be collaged in some way, but that’s not something I’ve done a lot of, so I got nothing in terms of ideas for doing that. I reckon that they’ll print nicely very large, which is nice. We’ll see what happens.

<zf-img src="" style2="-zf-autofit:2;-zf-decoration:none;" data-zf-photo="gal124526653:1363253262:0" data-zf-size="8581:580:383"></zf-img>

(syncretismassociates) Abstracts abstract black and white bw Wed, 11 Aug 2010 04:19:05 GMT
I am a peninsula of no taste These are from a trip to Banks Peninsula. When I posted this set to an audience of Facebook friends I was pleasantly taken aback by the positivity of responses. Not that I’m used to lots of negative feedback or anything – it’s just that I wasn’t overly wowed by any of these images and really just shared them as an experiment in loosening up a little. It’s not the first time that I’ve shown people things I like and things that I’m not convinced about and got strong feedback that I’m off-beam. It’s interesting.

(syncretismassociates) Genre-challenged Tue, 22 Jun 2010 02:27:24 GMT
A commercial break I’ve been on holiday in Christchurch for a week and one of the things that I got up to was to be commissioned by my brother-in-law, Mark Tigwell, to make some images to promote the LED-based interior lighting design work that he does. This series (36, long, sorry) shows a driftwood to kitchen lighting installation that he’s recently finished. It’s pretty extraordinary to look at and really balances ambience with practicality, although I’m not sure that the pictures really get that across. I don’t do promotional shoots much (barely at all) but this was interesting.

(syncretismassociates) Artists at work commission lighting purple Mon, 14 Jun 2010 03:30:10 GMT
A thousand suns I’m ambivalent about abstracts, but every so often one leaps out and I’ve learned not to resist. I seem to be most interested in colour abstracts. Here is one, or is it four? It’s one image, but as I frequently find I don’t know which way up it goes. I could possibly present them as a set of four. Or I could just decide to stick with one iteration. The title relates to my response to it which was a strong sense of nuclear explosion film and photos. That’s one good thing about the 80s – it wasn’t hard to find apocalyptic imagery. Oh yes, like all abstracts I do it’s only very mildly digitally altered – usually to bring saturation up a little bit and to smooth out any noise. There’s another example in this post.

(syncretismassociates) Abstracts abstract orange Tue, 25 May 2010 01:16:39 GMT
Airports I do rather like airports, and pictures of airports. It’s hard to do colour well in those spaces because the colours are either so tasteful as to not really signify or so awful as to extinguish any other idea you might want to work with. It occurred to me today that there are people waiting in airports a lot more even than usual at the moment. Reminded me of these images for a not all that successful project last year about waiting. I guess I’ve been waiting for a reason to post them.

(syncretismassociates) People bw Wed, 21 Apr 2010 23:05:43 GMT
Setting the tone The Eastern were in town again recently and as usual afforded me generous opportunities to make a record of their rollicking show. They had Jaime Regan with them too (that’s him at the beginning). My treatment of these shots was to pick up their old-timey-ness in dress and music and reflect it back to them in tone treatment (a la gold-toned daguerrotype). The soft-focus effect that some of these have was not intended, and I’m not actually sure how it arose. But it works. Now to track down somewhere reasonably-priced and helpful for some prints on metallic paper to reinforce the browny-gold glow.

(syncretismassociates) Artists at work black and white music nu-folk portrait Tue, 16 Mar 2010 01:20:49 GMT
One Love 2010 in living colour The One Love festival on Waitangi Day gave some opportunity to get some highly colourful shots and play with picking out details with the 200mm lens. There was also some music, dancing, food and sunshine.

(syncretismassociates) People colour outdoors Sat, 13 Feb 2010 00:26:23 GMT
A scary next step On March 7 I will have been photographing “nu-folk” musicians for exactly a year. There are some of the images here. The time is beckoning to get some of these, and the ones that I haven’t shared, out into publication. My objective in doing this study has been to draw attention to what they do musically and socially. Not the easiest thing to get across just in photos! If any reader has advice on publications that could be interested in something along these lines (a lot of pictures, some opinion, some interview then I’d be very pleased to hear from you!

(syncretismassociates) Artists at work Sat, 06 Feb 2010 13:21:15 GMT
Space I’d normally chew my own ears off before taking a picture of someone else’ art work but this is partially about the way that people interact with Hotere/Culbert’s Void installed in Te Papa. Dunno whether treating the detritus as stars subverts the intention of presenting the black as completely void/negative space rather than capital S Space.

Also, gotta love an aggressive crop.

[Republished with the before and after in the slideshow]

(syncretismassociates) Still lifes black and white Mon, 25 Jan 2010 22:15:30 GMT
Something a little different – landscapes Last year I met someone at work who did nature and landscape photography. These are two categories I’ve never been interested in working in. However, it did remind me about them so while on holiday recently I had a go at landscapes.

The images below are from an overnight trip to Central Otago organised by friends Melissa and Lee.

I hadn’t really thought much about what I wanted to do with the landscape. Lee had suggested the Strath Taeiri because of its otherworldliness and I think that that is the idea that stuck around for the rest of the images. As I didn’t have anything particular in mind these are mostly fleeting moments from the moving car, apart from the Strath Taieri image which was hand-held.

Central Otago is a scary subject for a lot of reasons. The main one for me was the fear that I couldn’t make images of it that looked ‘mine.’ I think I’ll declare partial success, apart from the image that looks like a cheese ad! I’m most pleased with the one that features power poles. Apart from a few tell-tale things it could be a rural plainscape from many places.

(syncretismassociates) Genre-challenged Fri, 22 Jan 2010 12:49:21 GMT
On holiday Trying out some nature and landscape stuff while away in the South Island – bit of a change, which is as good as a rest so they say.

(syncretismassociates) Genre-challenged Sat, 02 Jan 2010 01:46:29 GMT
Not empty A bit of a lack of contributions to the internet recently, but it’s not getting emptier while I’m not uploading, so that’s something. I’m entirely occupied with classes at the moment in addition to work and, usefully as you’ll see below, with work moving floors. The emptying office space has been an excellent field to practice with. I’ve done some portraits in this space too, but they are for assignments so may not show here for a while. In the meantime…

(syncretismassociates) Still lifes black and white furniture lights office space Sun, 15 Nov 2009 23:36:16 GMT
Recent live music work Also I’ll soon be updating the previous post on nu-folk to be slideshow rather than a long page of shots, and mixing in some of these shots into those slideshows.

(syncretismassociates) Artists at work colour music nu-folk Sat, 31 Oct 2009 14:27:05 GMT
Cross Purposes series I grew up in a church context. I’ve rejected a bit of this, some attitudes, some details, but kept to things I consider good. For reasons I won’t go into here I’ve been strongly off the crosses as a symbol.

Fast forward to photography. For a year now I’ve been unable to see a construction crane without seeing a cross.

This series begins with the first of these, the rather grandiose sunburst behind a crane scene. It crosses (arf) into the healing series – which I felt at the time was probably related – for the three needles/calvary scene and ends with some good old fashioned churchyard action with cranes again.

I am now wondering whether my seeing these everywhere anything more than my usual interest in geometry.

I’m going to turn comments on for a change. If you’re composing a comment with the purpose of trying to change my mind about the religious ideas, don’t waste your time.

(syncretismassociates) Still lifes Mon, 19 Oct 2009 02:54:10 GMT
Backstage at the Little Theatre New Plymouth

NZ art in-joke alert – In one of these pics “Here I give thanks to Peryer and Culbert”

(syncretismassociates) Still lifes theatre Fri, 02 Oct 2009 14:59:33 GMT
Healing series In return for doing some promotional shots for an acupuncturist I got access to the apparatus for a bit.

(syncretismassociates) Still lifes black and white needles Mon, 28 Sep 2009 23:00:23 GMT
Spark DSC_17513874269772_f537e81cbb

Spark, 2009 (f1.8@1/15th ISO 1600)

(syncretismassociates) Still lifes black and white Thu, 10 Sep 2009 02:48:24 GMT
Cameras don’t shoot people, people do DSC_01943778773733_6df020ac27





(syncretismassociates) People portrait Thu, 10 Sep 2009 02:27:52 GMT
Innocents and Miscreants – documenting the nu-folk musical movement DSC_78083577966838_193ee90a52

Rolling in the aisles, f3.5@1/50th & 500 ISO

In which your host ponders (and promotes) the appeal of the nu-folk/alt-country bands that have been tearing up and down New Zealand.


The Eastern


Stomp, f1.8@1/15th & 1,000 ISO

Much is made of The Eastern’s foot-stomping. It’s certainly a prodigious skill, but given all the other skills this band can display it’s hardly the first one to talk about. But people do, and I think that that’s because it’s symbolic of the level of involvement they have in their music (duh) and their determination to drive the show to the audience. During the show pictured above there was actually an earthquake, but my table of attendees all assumed it was Adam stomping.

The Eastern come from a parallel universe where Springsteen grew up in a bluegrass family, Lyttleton Harbour is still visited by tall-masted ships, songs are intense and come with stories, and banjos chime like bells. And I think that we’d all like to visit that universe from time to time.


Another Adam, another hand of God, f3.2@1/250th, ISO 3200


A Night with The Eastern, f2.8@1/250th, ISO 3200


Calm, f2@1/30th & 1,600 ISO (ouch)


Untitled, f1.8@1/30th & 1,000 ISO


Giants standing on your shoulders, f1.8@1/30th & 1,000 ISO


Untitled, f1.8@1/80th & 800 ISO


Beard, f1.8@1/40th & 1,600 ISO (ouch)


Hardest working band in the country, f1.8@1/125th & 800 ISO


Rosy Tin Teacaddy



Untitled, f1.8, 1/15th ISO 1000

If you’re going to have a schtick then you have to schtick with it. Rosy Tin Teacaddy are a fake band, in the best possible way. It’s not identity fraud, it’s more like sampling from the past. The characters they play – Billy and Betty and friends – seem to have been dragged backwards through the 50s and 60s and picked up a lot of twigs,  berries, clothes, lamps, phrases and harmonies. It appeals to me because it’s alter egos without the massive egos. And the songs are wordy, clever and funny.


Billy Earl, f1.8, 1/30th ISO 1000


Betty Grey, f2, 1/30th ISO 1600


Imaginative Title Here, f2, 1/30th ISO 1600


Not Hank Marvin, but otherwise entirely in The Shadows, f1.8, 1/30th ISO 1600


Rosy Tin Teacaddy eye contact, f1.8, 1/80th ISO 1600


The Ragamuffin Children


Cross purposes, but not cross f2, 1/60th, ISO 800

The thing that amazes me most about the Ragamuffin Children is the moment of magic when they start playing and transform from an improbable collation of stories, false starts, observations and recollections to a lithe, driven and soaring display. Sweet but far from insipid.


Untitled, f1.8, 160th, ISO 800


Anita Clark, f1.8,1/30th ISO 1000

So, you made it to the end of the page. Well done. My closing comment is that the reason the nu-folk bands are great is that each is a little from a distinct world quite different from the norm. But at the same time it’s folk through and through because it’s communal and embracing. By the people of someplace, for the people of many places.


(syncretismassociates) Artists at work music nu-folk Thu, 06 Aug 2009 03:20:52 GMT
A bit wet DSC_73653516908077_e87b260fbb
I don’t generally see abstraction as something I want to do much of. However, this photo was a spontaneous shot of a real scene a little more close up than usual. I like the ambiguity of it. It looks real, and also fake. It is a real scene and barely digitally processed at all.

(syncretismassociates) Still lifes abstract green water Tue, 30 Jun 2009 04:14:06 GMT