Super Sport Sunday

This series of detailed black and white photographs presents an insider’s view of secret places in Ōtepoti/Dunedin.

Ōtepoti/Dunedin lies at the end of Otago Harbour on the southeast coast of Te Wai Pounamu, the South Island of New Zealand. It presents itself and the wider area of Dunedin City as a rugged and spectacular landscape of beaches, wildlife, and volcanic topography. Thomas Lord’s ongoing series of photographs, Super Sport Sunday, offers a rather different view of Dunedin without surfers, sealions, or dramatic vistas.

Super Sport Sunday takes us around the Dunedin area, but it does not show us its public face. Instead, Lord’s work is almost the antithesis: close up, monochrome, highly detailed examinations of small areas, features and textures replace wide views, highly saturated and generic images. This is not the landscape-as-adventure-playground of typical images, but something slower and smaller. It is both more modest and more ethical. It is also an insider’s view of the hidden, the secret and the overlooked.

Lord’s photographs of small areas around Dunedin disclose aspects of the landscape, but they are not landscapes. Their value resides both in their details, and accumulates across the series. Together they show the place in a way that a wide view of the landscape could not. Individually, they are sufficiently refined and restrained that we might better think of them as ‘still life’ pictures; excluding the human form, narrative interest and events in favour of an “exploration of what ‘importance’ tramples underfoot”.

This is an edited excerpt from the catalogue for Thomas Lord's 2021 exhibition at the PhotoAccess Huw Davies Gallery. PhotoAccess is Canberra's centre for photography and media arts. Offering a rich program of exhibitions, workshops, community events and membership, with the philosophy that artistic expression can create positive social change.

July 2022

Image credit: Thomas Lord. All rights reserved.