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Inspiration Profile - Neil Pardington

Welcome to this week's Inspiration Profile. He is a man of many talents - just recently he became the 2011 recipient of the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award, New Zealand's most prestigious award for photographers. His name is Neil Pardington and here is what inspires him right now.

Neil Pardington

Name: Neil Pardington 

What do you do: Artist and Creative Director at Base Two.

Where do you live: Wellington, New Zealand

What are you working on:

ART - I’ve just completed a new project – Behind Closed Doors – a photographic portfolio and publication about art collecting – a collaboration with curator Christina Barton and writer Lara Strongman. My next major work is titled The Silent Sea and involves photographing the Dr Harvey Cushing Collection of medical specimens at the Yale School of Medicine. It will be a very large single work comprising of up to 600 images. I’m collaborating with Art Historian Dr Kriselle Baker on that. Our aim is to tour the work internationally as part of a larger exhibition including other photographic artists looking at the relationship between art, medicine and photography.

DESIGN -The 2012 Smoking Not Our Future Campaign that has just been launched; the design of Tangata Whenua – an illustrated Maori History with Bridget Williams Books – and a raft of other projects, as is the case with a busy design studio.

Ralph Hotere, White Drip, 1982
2011from the series Behind Closed Doors Pigment Print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta
280 x 400 mmedition of 15
All Blacks Piri Weepu in the 'Smoking Not Our Future' Campaign

Who/what inspires me: Inspiring and surprising work by others – in any medium. Living in the information age, this changes on a daily basis – but here are some of my all-time classics:

ART: Hild and Bernd Becher, Walker Evans, Eugéne Atjet, Alexander Rodchenko, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Candida Höfer, Andeas Gursky, Ed Ruscha, Bill Viola and Len Lye.
DESIGN: Alexander Rodchenko, Saul & Elaine Bass, Charles & Ray Eames and Hoefler & Frere Jones.
FILM: Sergei Eisenstein, Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanley Kubric, Martin Scorcese, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jane Campion, Francis Ford Coppola and Krzysztof Kieslowski.
WRITERS: Francois Foucault, Albert Camus, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Michael Ondaatje, Cormac McCarthy and Italo Calvino.
MUSIC: Bob Dylan, James Brown, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Nick Cave, Talking Heads, Brian Eno, Goldfrapp and Kruder & Dorfmeister.

I work best: In the morning after a 40k bike ride.

What I do when I’m stuck for inspiration: Hang out with my daughter Billie or go for a long bike ride – basically do something all consuming that takes my mind off the problem, then come back to it refreshed.

The best advice I have been given is: Treat your creative work like any other job. Get up, go to work at a regular time and keep regular hours. Apply yourself and the inspiration will come. Both Woody Allen and David Mamet subscribe to this approach.

My latest discovery is: Pigment prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta – I’ve just switched from C-type prints which I’ve been using for the past 20 years. Quite a significant move for me.

Tunnel #5
2011Pigment Print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta
from the series The Abyss / En Abyme
dimensions variable
edition of 10


Wet Room #1, Otago Museum
from the series The Vault
Digital print
dimensions variable
edition of 15

Books that I get inspiration from: Foucault’s The Birth of The Clinic is the text that has been most inspirational. Also Claude Lévi-Strauss’ Triste Tropiques. New Zealand history – most recently Anne Salmond’s Two Worlds and The Trial of the Cannibal Dog.

Magazines that inspire me: I’m more of a book reader than a magazine reader to be honest. Eye is my favourite design magazine. ArtNews is my favourite NZ art mag.

Blogs that I enjoy: Art, Life ,TV, Etc. , eyeCONTACT, Peter PeryerOver the Net and on the Table,  Mrs Deane and If We Don't, Remember Me.

My favourite room at home is: Our open plan living, dining kitchen. It’s a beautiful and functional space designed by my wife Amelia Minty – and where Amelia, Billie and I spend most of our time together.

My office is: ART: at home, a small photographic studio known as ‘the man cave’, but also anywhere I’m taking photographs. DESIGN: The Base Two studio, Willis St, Wellington. Both studios were also designed by Amelia.

What am I looking forward to:
The birth of our second child in June this year.
Watching our daughter Billie growing up day by day.
My next big photo shoot – The Dr Harvey Cushing Archive at Yale.
The Tour de France.

Want to see more of Neil's work? Take a look at his website here. All photographs displayed are used with permission from Neil Pardington.

Abattoir #4
2010from the series The Abattior
Digital Print
Pigment Print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta
edition of 10