2023 Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi Laureate receiving the Marti Friedlander Photography award
Peter Black is a long time photographer of Aotearoa’s social landscape. With a career spanning almost 50 years, the Christchurch-born photographer is recognised as one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s foremost photographers.
His work includes black and white and colour photography, along with several photobook publications, the most recent of which is Motel Life (pub MMM Photobooks, 2021). His photographic journey began in the early ’70s, when he first picked up a 35mm single-lens reflex Pentax Spotmatic, which he purchased duty-free on a visit to Brisbane. In 1980, his exhibition Fifty Photographs was the first solo show of photography at the then National Art Gallery. His work is in many national and private collections, including Te Papa and the Sarjeant Art Gallery.
“Peter Black has been making wonderful photographs for over fifty years. His photographs, first black and white, and then colour as well, have been widely exhibited in public and private galleries and published in books and periodicals. Initially characterised as a ‘street photographer’, it is probably more cogent to see to see his work as representations of ‘social landscapes’; not just imaging the look of people in particular locations, but also their behaviour and interactions with other people and places. While grounded in the real or actual, his photographs are compellingly poetic and imaginative constructions. As such, he is one of New Zealand’s best and most versatile photographers, a true artist in the medium. Indeed, one could say that his recognition as a Arts Foundation Laureate is more than well-deserved, and perhaps even long overdue.”