Ans Westra Private Journeys/Public Signposts
Ans Westra, whose photographs of New Zealanders constitute a uniquely expressive record of who we are and have been, now sits for the camera herself. Contemplating her career with amusement and gratitude, she speaks as one for whom photography is as natural and indispensable as seeing or remembering. Luit Bieringa, first-time filmmaker and curator of the superb touring retrospective, intercuts her testimony with cordial interjections from friends, family and other well-informed admirers - and shows us the photos. Drawn to big public occasions, she’s rarely interested in big public figures. Her images are captured at the peripheries of official activity and are all the more piquant for that. Framed by a conversation with Hone Tuwhare, one of New Zealands’ best-known and much-loved writer/performer, the film roundly acknowledges the progressive role her work played in the 60s counterculture and in the cultural renaissance of Māori.