16 June – 19 August, Lane and Wall Galleries
Gala Days is an exhibition of about 50 photos reflecting a time in Taranaki when it was easy for a young street photographer to wander in and out of people’s lives.
For Julian Ward, a bored engineering draughtsman, who fulfilled his passions capturing life through a camera lens, it was truly the “gala days” of photography when he moved to New Plymouth in 1970.
He found open doors to almost all public and even private events; he could wander into a factory to observe tired workers, document a tangi with a nod of approval, or get a cuppa from the teachers when photographing children.
Initially, he thought he might want to be a photo journalist, but the young Ward discovered his street photography became more about “human landscapes” in the style of Henri Cartier-Bresson than news.
Ward spent 15 years in New Plymouth, before heading back to Wellington where he has continued his obsession with street photography. But for him it all began in Taranaki as a young man during those early innocent times, he always thinks of as the Gala Days.