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Back in 1977, when I was a fine arts student at the University of Canterbury, I took a series of photographs of Christchurch shopkeepers. The photos were for a calendar – a project for my end-of-year submission. I don’t remember how or why I chose the topic, but the idea of having photos of shop-keepers, being their own bosses surrounded by their wares appealed to me. 

After a gap of 47 years I decided to continue the series – this time in Wellington – using the same camera and the same type of black and white film. 

In nine months I photographed, using a ‘snapshot style’, the 30 shopkeepers who feature in this exhibition. They represent a variety of small shops that have caught my eye on the streets of Wellington. 

This series of photos celebrates the personalities of the owners and their shops and illustrates how they contribute to the unique character of Wellington. Some have been family-run businesses since the 1920s. They include book stores, barber shop and florists, as well as stores specialising in fabrics, hats and ice cream.

These local businesses create a sense of place and community identity. They also provide personal customer service and a welcome alternative to chain stores and online retailers. 

Behind the Counter: Wellington Shopkeepers

  • Softbound book

    32 pages


    Published April 2024

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