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.
Sisters Sophia and Gina are two such people. Gina had seen an outdoor poster advertising the show and brought her sister along to see it.
Sophia was the first to spot herself photographed amongst a group of friends at a punk rock concert at the Caledonean Hall. She is pictured seated on the left wearing a dark hat. She said that she was astonished and surprised to find herself amongst the subjects of the photographs and said that she did not recognise her friend at first as it was taken so long ago.
"When I realised that it was my friend, I was surprised and happy because it brought back memories of the crazy times we had going to parties and seeing live bands. Having been born and living in Christchurch most of my life, I feel proud to be in this exhibition."
She also recalled that the punk scene was more predominant than now.
Gina's connection was to a photograph not on display in the exhibition space but rather inside the pages of the accompanying publication.
The photograph features the fish she painted on the window of their father's business, Warners Continental Fish Supply which was close to The Press building in Cathedral Square. Their father passed away during the quakes four years ago. The photograph was taken from inside the shop, looking out onto the street.
She recalled that although the painted fish looked textured when seen from where the photograph was taken, it looked very smooth and flat when seen behind the glass from the outside.
"It's lovely seeing these warm photos of Christchurch. I enjoyed this time in history around Christchurch. It's nice to see Christchurch so buzzy and busy. I also love the grainy texture of these old black and white photos."
Thank you Sophia and Gina for sharing your stories with us.
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.
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.
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.
The former DIC Beaths department store was converted into the former Christchurch Bus Exchange on the corner of Cashel and Colombo Streets.