Alan Squires is a landscape and commercial photographer based in Whangarei. He’s a self taught photographer inspired by NZ photographers and artists:
“I’ve always had a camera, since I was very young, but never really caught the bug, I found the film process slow and frustrating creatively. But I’ve always loved art, read voraciously, watched documentaries, spoke to artists and loved galleries and public works of art and architecture. I worked for 2 years at the National Art Gallery in London in the early 2000s before returning home. I think I came from a generation where being an artist was seen as an impossible foolish dream. That stopped me from pursuing it seriously. Also maybe, I didn’t have anything really to say or to comment on, maybe I was just soaking up life!”
It was with the advent of digital photography and access to better printers and computer software for processing, and especially the move to Whangarei which really inspired Alan to pursue photography more seriously. He could not stop from making images of Whangarei and Northland coastal magnificence, volcanic interior (Northland has more volcanoes per square kilometer than anywhere else on the planet) the bush, and ocean on moving to Taurikura in the Whangarei Heads in 2008. Previously he had commuted while completing his degree in Psychology and moved up permanently in 2010.
“The moment I saw that view coming up over the Brynderwyns and Mt Manaia from Taurikura I was blown away. I read and spoke to as many people as I could about the histories, both geological and cultural, of the area and in particular Mt Manaia. You just know looking at Manaia that it is important, everybody has an affinity with it in one way or another who lives in the area. Surprisingly, It had not really been captured photographically in a grand, evocative and moving artistic sense.”
Whangarei Heads and Northlands underappreciated coastline, islands and volcanic remnants have become Alan’s focus for the past 10 years and really, he has not even scratched the surface of images he wishes to cover. Alan has published calendars and a landscape photography book, alongside his framed fine art work, and is now starting to explore other mediums in which to exhibit on a larger scale. Alan’s imagery seeks to celebrate and reflect back to Northlanders the power and beauty of our natural landscape and cultural histories.
Mt Manaia in the Whangarei Heads features prominently in Alan’s work:
“It appears on the horizon in many, surprising ways around the Whangarei district. I’ll often be roaming around and notice Manaia rising up over the horizon in places you would not expect. In that way you start to gain an understanding of Whangarei’s geography. I love the shapes and textures of the Northland landscape and am particularly drawn to the shapes of the clouds, the nature of the surf and the many ancient volcanic remnants that proliferate throughout Northland”
Alan’s process takes a very minimal approach, less is more a lot of the time for any “photoshop” adjustments in the edit. Preferring to do most work in camera, each image is treated on its own merits:
“If the image wants to be something then who am I to stand in its way? Most often you cannot force an image to become a preconceived idea, it will want to be something, even if it is just into the recycle bin! A lot of my images that I love are Black and whites as they have an appearance or feel, that is hard to date. A lot of the “noise” that colour introduces is stripped away” leaving the minimal, raw image to show itself”
Further areas of Northland await. Alan is increasingly taking to the air and sea to capture images around the region. More remote areas have become more accessible throughout Te Tai Tokerau. The Kaipara, Bay of Islands, Hokianga and the Far North await!
To view Alans work, follow the links below.