I guess for me, this ‘project’ probably started a couple of years ago when I had decided to photograph what remained of the front entrance to Windy Hill Orchard and Vineyard. This was located very near the top of Metcalfe Road. I grew up on this road, leaving in my late teens to a flat near the North Shore Teachers College, which I attended.
Although I wish I could remember more, I do remember going up with Mum to Windy Hill for the odd case of apples and possibly other fruit. This was just one of many orchards we visited for the same purpose. We probably even bought bags of grapes as well. I was always quite taken with that iron lettering hung above the shed door.
So, a couple of years ago, I photographed the shed, now a garage, and the lettering. The grass was long, and the property unkept, which I thought was a shame. Little did I know that only a few months later this was all gone, replaced with a virgin concrete path, manicured grass and driveway to a new school.
I should have known, as I had seen this often happens, houses creeping into and over vineyards all through the West. Perhaps the difference was that this represented some apparent memories. The shots I had taken had taken on new meaning for me and opened my eyes to other properties which either had or could have a similar fate.
The view from the top of Candia Road, looking back to that radio mask, was another. I do recall the rolling lines of vines nestled at the base of the Waitakere Ranges. The evening sun on autumnal vines was magic. For many years now, all that remains are the lines etched into the landscape used as sheep trails. The light there is still fantastic in the evenings, but clearly, something is missing.
Slowly, it became evident that the following photo series I should give some time to should be this change. The more I started looking, the more I regretted that I did not start earlier, especially considering that I have spent so much of my life living in West Auckland. Still, this is my time to do what I am able, to record a little bit of this history of the West.
I have no idea how this series will end – or whether things such as this ever do. In the past, I have seen photographers, including myself, working away, silently often, on projects which are revealed on ‘completion’ with a book and or exhibition. For this project, I am interested to see if the use of the ‘blog’ or visual journal is viable as a means of tracking and potentially defining the project direction itself. I don’t know. We’ll see. Maybe this work only ever remains in this virtual space.
Perhaps this could even become a little collection point for images, recordings and recollections – who knows? I am certainly open to any involvement and suggestions – please feel free to comment or email privately. So I’ll be very much taking it as it comes and as I can grab time. Hopefully, you will also see the sidebar getting populated with links and resources.
[ I should add too that my aim is not to offend anyone in the publication of material on the internet. If you feel uncomfortable with the material on this site, please let’s discuss this. ]