archival pigment on cotton rag paper,
Christchurch, April 2020
Maurice began photographing at age 12 with a Kodak Brownie 127 brought by his father from a church fair. Film processing and printing took place in a cupboard, moving later to a darkroom at the back of the garage, as Maurice developed and printed images of cats, the garden, neighbours and the beach.
His photographic awakening took place when studying graphic design at the Christchurch Technical Institute (now the Ara Institute of Canterbury) under the influence of Murray Hedwig. At that point Maurice fell under the spell of Edward Weston and later the new colour photographers - “for several years in my mind I was Edward Weston,” he says.
While working in ad agencies, and later as a commercial photographer, graphic designer and visual aids technician, Maurice continued to work on personal projects whenever possible and built his own camera and accessories from hardware store materials. He has self-published several books including ‘Only God can make a tree’ about the domestic built environment in small towns.
Maurice describes himself as a scavenger with a warm sense of humour and a curiosity for natural and built environments. He is intrigued with how people affect the environment, the traces they leave behind and their response to the biota around us.
“Preparing for the shutdown bought back memories of the Christchurch earthquakes of 2011. Then as now, no-one knew what was ahead. The uncertainty and unease are always present, sometimes buried, other times bubbling to the top. My motivation and concentration seemed to also go into isolation. The motivation is coming back, the unease is still lurking. Being an easy going, small country doesn’t make us immune from disasters. It does however ease the path to recovery.
This photograph was taken in the first couple of weeks of isolation. I walked about five metres from our gate and looked down the street. It was a weird feeling, like I was trespassing. There were no cars and no noise. A man on a bike rode past on the footpath. We had a brief conversation; I was still in the middle of the road.”