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Saturday, 27 April 2019 01:51 am

History repeats, as the art of Hoppertainment comes to bay

JOHNS400JOHN SHORLAND’S life has been about challenges, and replicating a 100-year-old art form in photos of Wellington is the latest one.

Inspired by the 20th Century artist Edward Hopper, Mr Shorland has joined four Wellington artists for an exhibition they call “Hoppertainment”.

With John Fuller, Rahul Gopinathan, Marc Hill and Ian Logan, a series of drawings, paintings, sculptures and photographs replicate the lonely themes that the realist Hopper created.

Mr Shorland, right. said he had been working out of his comfort zone to photograph “Hopperesque,” lonely figures but is looking forward to the exhibition.

“It’s good to get your work out there and have it shown,” Mr Shorland said.

The Johnsonville man has taken up the challenge to manipulate Hopper’s window reflections for the exhibition which begins February 2.

Hopper did not paint window reflections in his paintings but Mr Shorland, unable to recreate this in photography, has reinvented the idea.

In Mr Shorland’s most recent photographs, he has taken photos of many reflections and has layered them into one photo to create the illusion of being at many places at one time.

“Everybody sees an image differently,” Mr Shorland said.

Last year, a series of Shorland’s photographs featured at the Tapu Te Ranga Gallery in Island Bay as a part of the “Homage to the Masters” exhibition.

Over the past 30 years, Shorland has been building relationships on farms and was inspired to photograph woolsheds dating back to the 1850s.

He said the fabric of each building has a fascinating story to tell.

“To me the history of woolsheds and their construction tells a lot about the history of New Zealand itself.”.

Gallery curator Rahul Gopinathan said the public enjoy Mr Shorland’s photographs.

“They can relate to it through their own imagination and memories as they can express something very truthful about New Zealand landscape,” he said.

At the age of 11, Mr Shorland taught himself photography with a Box Brownie camera and took his first photographs at the Meremere Power Station on the Waikato River.

During his teenage years, Mr Shorland began tramping in the Tararua Ranges in Wellington.

This experience took him into the Southern Alps and then into his biggest mountaineering challenge in Antarctica.

While working for the New Zealand Post in the 1960s, Mr Shorland led a team of scientists on an expedition and was the first person to descend into the crater of the volcanic mountain, Mr Erebus.

As well as being a fan of tramping, Mr Shorland is a fan of technology.

He built his own radio transmitting technology to make earth-moon-earth signals into space.

It is these challenges which have been the drive behind Mr Shorland’s enthusiasm for photography.

His name is familiar to Island Bay not only because of the challenges he faced but the history that remains in the family.

Although Mr Shorland’s images are what make him well known in the community today, he has made historic achievements to be proud of.

His grandfather, also John Shorland, was a Wellington City Councillor and chaired the Island Bay School Committee where his children went to school.

Before passing away, Grandfather Shorland contributed to building the playground equipment in Island Bay.

Today, Shorland Park remains a legacy for Grandfather Shorland and his children, being named after the family.

Mr Shorland has since been replicating the legacy his grandfather left him with photographs of history that New Zealand bares today.



IN REFLECTIONG: Reflecting on the Empire, one of Mr Shorland’s photographs to be shown at the Tapu Te Ranga Gallery in February.

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is a student journalist studying at Whitireia in Welington. She is keen on keeping up with the news and writing stories that will have impact in the community. She is currently reporting stories within the Brooklyn area. She is interested in using multi-media in the news room.
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