NEW ZEALAND PHOTOGRAPHY CURATED BY
CHRISTINE MCFETRIDGE AND TALIA SMITH
The past is just a story we tell ourselves—Her, Spike Jonze, 2013
One Step Back was made after Blair Barclay returned to New Zealand from a year spent overseas. His aim was to explore conflicting feelings of familiarity and detachment that he experienced upon returning home. Barclay says, ‘While taking these photos, personal knowledge and memories came to distort the way I looked at home. With my camera I tried to combine the analytical characteristics of photography with a more subjective vision of personal experience.’
Through his black and white photographs, Barclay doesn’t seek to depict home in a physical sense. Rather the subject is the relevance that this place has for him. The images concentrate on subtle details, the gestures of loved ones, and intuitive observations of his surroundings. There is a familiarity about them, one can easily relate to his experience reconciling the past, more associated with childhood, to growing up.
Barclay unravels his aims further: ‘the title of the project refers to the way one steps back to gain a clearer perspective on a subject or situation; also to the distance or disconnection this creates. This project served as a cathartic experience that helped me to both analyse the place that I had returned to, and to re-establish a connection with it.’
Barclay, a photographer and book artist, is currently based in Christchurch, New Zealand. He has exhibited both locally and internationally.
- Christine McFetridge