No Ordinary Snapshots - Pictures by Robert E. Wells, 1924-1958
In December 2003 Robert Wells gifted two albums of photographs to Puke Ariki, one containing family photographs and the other comprising prints exhibited by Wells at the New Plymouth Camera Club. A selection from the latter album is featured here.
These photographs were all taken between 1924 and 1958 while Wells was in full-time employment as a school teacher. As the photographs in this album indicate, Wells' camera was rarely from his side, recording family holidays, domestic scenes and the immediate landscape around his home and work.
But these are no ordinary snapshots. These images are well-composed and well-planned, often revisiting scenes to capture just the right composition and lighting effects. Indeed, Wells avoids the term photography to define his work. He prefers to describe his work as ‘pictures’, indicating the active role he took in the process. Rather than a photographer he sees himself as an artist with a camera as his tool.