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Source: Auckland Council

With the support of Auckland Council, an exhibition celebrating the work of 21 women photographers will be on display at the Ellen Melville Centre in Freyberg Place from March 6 to 9.

Coinciding with International Women’s Day on March 8, the Women’s Work exhibition showcases work from Advertising and Illustrative Photographers’ Association (AIPA) members.

“Women’s Work is an opportunity to explore the female gaze as an alternative to the ubiquitous male perspectives that tend to dominate commercial and advertising photography,” AIPA Vice President Victoria Baldwin says.

“With this exhibition we really want to give people a nudge and make them question their assumptions.” 

The council’s City Centre Place Activation Team Leader Barbara Holloway says it’s a fitting venue for the exhibition.

“Ellen Melville Centre is named after Ellen Melville, the first woman to be elected to the Auckland City Council and the second New Zealand woman to become a lawyer,” she says.

“And within the building are tributes to other great women of New Zealand.”

The 41 images from photographers including Mara Sommer, Sara Orme, Victoria Baldwin and others embody a wide range of themes and styles. During the exhibition, photos will also be displayed on large lightboxes dotted around the centre.

“Each photographer has her own unique approach to her work, yet together these images represent a distinctly female viewpoint.”

A panel discussion will also be held at the centre on International Women’s Day which will bring together artists and industry professionals to discuss issues around the gender imbalance in the photographic industries.

Speakers include photographer Sara Orme, Isobel Kerr-Newell of Saatchi & Saatchi, Geraldine Turney of Match Photographers, and Dr Kaisa Wilson of Gender Tick.

According to research, women make up the majority of photography students in New Zealand universities (up to 70 to 80 per cent) in some courses, however the number of female commercial photographers represented by photo agents in NZ is much lower (closer to 20 per cent).

“I’ve been in this industry for over 25 years and I’m not going to lie, it’s been really hard as a female,” Sara says.

“The female vision, up until recently, has been really ignored, and absolutely not understood or appreciated.”

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Women’s Work: Celebrating the work of photographers who are helping us see the world through a different lens

  • Where: Pioneer Women’s Hall, Ellen Melville Centre, Corner High Street and Freyberg Place
  • When: 6-9 March 2020
  • Time: Friday–Saturday 9am-6pm and Sunday-Monday 9am-4pm
  • Cost: Free

Panel Discussion

  • Where: Pioneer Women’s Hall, Ellen Melville Centre, Corner High Street and Freyberg Place
  • When: 8 March
  • Time: 11am-1pm
  • Cost: Free. Register at