Mark Adams photographs of Samoan tatau, Māori-Pakeha interactions around Rotorua, historic sites around the South Island and his investigations into New Zealand's post colonial history have been extensively exhibited within New Zealand, as well as in Europe, Australia, South Africa and Brazil's Sao Paulo biennale.
He uses a conventional realism to investigate aspects of New Zealand and Pacific post-colonial history as a form of critique. He likes the notion of ‘art being that of a witness’. His carefully composed photographs, of great formal elegance, are arresting as they encompass the paradoxes and complexities of the cross-cultural relationships of the histories they record. Over the years he has received several arts council grants and awards including the Getty grant program.
Mark attended Christchurch’s Ilam Art School from 1967 to 1970 majoring in graphic design so he “could do photography” as there was no separate photography major in those days. Following art school, he gained an interest in painting through artists Tony Fomison and Theo Schoon. Marks first exhibition was at Snaps a Photographers Gallery, in Auckland in 1976 and he has since built up an impressive exhibition record. His books include Cook’s Sites: Revisiting History (1999, with Nicholas Thomas) and Rauru Tene Waitere, Māori carving, colonial history, 2009. Mark was the recipient of one of two Marti Friedlander Photographic Awards made in 2009.
Mark Adams lives in Oxford in Te Wai Pounamu and practices out of Studio La Gonda on Karangahape Road, Auckland with Haruhiko Sameshima.