Now's a good time to make Friends with the Gallery. We're offering Friends 20%* off our new book of photographs of 1980s Christchurch by David Cook.
I wasn't old enough in the 1980s to be hanging out in the Square by myself – okay, yeah I was, but we're talking late 80s. We've just finished printing David Cook's new book, Meet Me in the Square, and it's an incredible summary of central Christchurch in the mid 80s.
Most of us in the office are old enough to remember the twentieth century's most charmless decade. (We have one staffer who wasn't even born then, like. What?!) But David's photos of Christchurch - which he took as a young photography student at the University of Canterbury - remind me that Christchurch in the 80s was more than ra-ra skirts and girls just having fun. Cathedral Square, Centennial Pool, Lancaster Park, schoolboys, punks, nuns. This is nostalgia in a good way.
These are some of the photographs from David's book that we're really enjoying right now.
*Friends will receive 20% off this publication until 16 December 2014
David Cook: Meet Me in the Square
Cathedral Square, Centennial Pool, Lancaster Park, schoolboys, punks, nuns – a photographic journey through 1980s Christchurch.
When Caroline first found out about the David Cook: Meet Me in the Square exhibition through the Gallery's Facebook page before it opened, she had an inkling that she might see her father in the show.
The significance of everyday things
During the winter of 1984 my mother, father and I packed an overnight bag and climbed into Dad’s Hillman Hunter. I was five years old and, as far as I could remember, it was the first time we’d ever ventured outside of Blenheim.
Karen Cunningham found out her photo was in the David Cook: Meet Me in the Square exhibition when a resident at Edith Cavell Home and Hospital brought it to her attention during a weekly game of housie.
Megan made a special trip to the David Cook: Meet Me in the Square exhibition last week after seeing a photograph in The Press of her and her friend at the Cathedral Square bus stop, taken in 1984.
Since the exhibition David Cook: Meet Me in the Square opened at 209 Tuam Street, the Gallery's Visitor Hosts have spoken to several people who either appear in the photographs themselves or have a personal story to share about a particular photograph in the show.
Meet Me in the Square
The first thing you notice, even before the pageboy haircuts and oversized plastic spectacles, is the absence of smiles. The unhappiness in the eyes of the average Cantabrian snapped on these grey, chilly streets seems palpable. Even the Christ's College cadet, cradling a rifle as part of soldiery drill, looks ready to turn the gun on himself. In 1983, the year when David Cook began a project to explore his hometown, a camera as his compass, most locals look distinctly brassed off.
The former DIC Beaths department store was converted into the former Christchurch Bus Exchange on the corner of Cashel and Colombo Streets.