'From Fordell' Samantha Matthews

'From Fordell' is a collection of photographs exploring place, nostalgia and the revisit. 

After a few years of being based in the South Island, developing a way of working with my camera, I decided to turn the lens toward something previously well known to my eyes, the small rural village of Fordell, east of Wanganui in the North Island. 

The photographs in this exhibition are the result. They are a collection of spaces and places that shaped my early memories. The house I lived in till I was 7 years old, my old primary school, the pool, the community hall. In walking around these places with my camera, recurring themes in my practice began to surface. Interior and exterior space, horizontality, the vernacular, marks made by strangers, the banal everyday. They are all present in these images. Things I have been finding with my camera for many years, in different places around New Zealand, all coming back to a source point of personal experience, perspective and memory. Taken in May and September of 2015 (and the pool in 2011) they are part of my ongoing photographic relationship with this area, which began over 10 years ago, shaping my early approach to photography.

While working on this exhibition I was also presented with a challenge that I have not come across before, a challenge of objectivity. What are my intentions for photographing this subject? Why am I photographing it in this way? Memory and nostalgia were ever present, blurring my photographic motive. This personal dialogue with objectivity was unexpected, and changed the meaning behind the work for me. However, it was this kind of dialogue that I've been attempting to engage with all along. To open up a conversation not just with the photograph and it's subject but also the operation of photography through my practice. For me to have to ask 'what' and 'why' is the reason this body of work will never be over. I will always continue to photograph this place. Upon each return I'm sure I will see what has changed, and what has stayed the same.