Born in Matamata in 1961, Gregory O’Brien has written two books about New Zealand art for young and curious people: Welcome to the South Seas (2004) and Back and Beyond (2008). Between 1997 and 2009, he worked as a curator at City Gallery Wellington – it was during this period he got to know many of the photographers in this book.
The author photograph above was taken by Helena Hughes in 1993. Standing alongside a drawing which Sydney artist Noel McKenna made of him in 1982, the author likes this portrait because it contains a drawn version as well as a photographic one – and a dynamic shadow-form facing off to the right hand side. In the image above, Noel’s drawing and Helena’s photo are having a conversation, maybe even an argument, about who their subject really is.