Over the past four decades, photographer John Miller’s practice has contributed to a rich legacy of documentary imagery in Tāmaki Makaurau. 

Beginning with Real Pictures and later, Studio La Gonda, many of Aotearoa’s leading photographers have come together in these spaces to share darkrooms, technical understanding and a view to document the world around them.

To celebrate the work of this community and the stories their images tell, we invite you to hear about the experiences of these camera artists – John Miller, Mark Adams, Haru Sameshima and Ian Macdonald.  This conversation will be led by programmer and researcher Hanna Scott who has recorded oral histories on Studio La Gonda.

This event is free to attend and booking is required here - hospitality will be provided. 



John Miller (Ngāpuhi) a tohunga kaiwhakaahua (photographer) has been creating work since the late 1960s. Miller’s best-known work, has been the documentation of radical protest in New Zealand. Rather than merely being the subject of his work, protest has been his muse.

Ian Macdonald is a landscape photographer primarily known for his New Zealand forest photography. Born in Birkenhead, Auckland in 1946, he grew up in Kaipara. Macdonald undertook a graphic design course at Auckland Technical Institute and then studied at Elam, University of Auckland School of Fine Art where he majored in photography. He was Exhibitions Officer at the Auckland City Art Gallery leaving to establish and run Real Pictures Gallery in central Auckland. He is widely exhibited and published with work in the public collections of Te Papa, Auckland Art Gallery and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as private collections. Today, he assists his son, Andrew, setting up aircraft borne camera systems and developing software for his company Biospatial which automates aerial photographic surveys using oblique photography.

Haru Sameshima was born in Shizuoka City, Japan, and immigrated to New Zealand in 1973. He completed an MFA (1995) at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. Sameshima has exhibited and published widely in New Zealand, and his images illustrate some of New Zealand’s most significant art and craft publications. He has his own publishing imprint, Rim Books, and runs his Auckland studio, Studio La Gonda, in partnership with Mark Adams.

Mark Adams was born in Christchurch and studied at Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury. He has pursued a purist large format camera based analogue practice since 1969. These focus on the post-colonial cross cultural in New Zealand and its art history. Adams has published several books and catalogues that accompany exhibitions, some in collaboration with academics, historians and other artists. He worked at and exhibited with Real Pictures Gallery and has shown in most New Zealand public art galleries many of whom have collections of his work and exhibited at museums in Australia, Canada, USA, Holland, Germany and the UK. 

Hanna Scott is a curator, researcher, strategist and programme manager. In 2007 she undertook an oral history project Studio La Gonda - a large format legacy, which is housed in Auckland Libraries Special Collections and the National Library. She is currently Senior Programme Leader, Arts and Culture at Auckland Council. Based in Tāmaki Makaurau since 2002 her writing on contemporary art is published in Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Aotearoa and the USA.

John Miller, Bastion Point land occupation, 1977.