Cam McLaren

Published 16/5/2017

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the kind of work you do?

I am a photographer mainly making documentary work in monochrome. Born in Canada, currently living in NZ with my family.

How did you get into photography and which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking? 

Photography was taught to me by my father when I was a young boy. We had a bunch of photo books at home by people like Elliot Erwitt, Josef Koudelka, Irving Penn and Diane Arbus. There were others but these were some of the people that grabbed my interest when I was discovering photography. A lot of it was black and white and very much a study of situation. People are an important element to the photographs that inspired me. The connection with someone you don’t know, whether you are the photographer or the viewer is interesting to me.

Tell us a bit about your upcoming project exhibition - "Let me see you”. 

This series of pictures was photographed throughout 2016. It is meant to be a glimpse into an intimate moment. Like a lot of my work, it is aiming to look behind a closed door. These are moments that everyone knows exist, but rarely are they photographed.  It can mean what ever the viewer wants it to, but for me its an examination of the human form and its social interpretation. 

How did you get into photo-documentary?

I was working as a musician producing electronic music. Sometimes I still make music. Making documentary photography was a way for me to become part of the world, outside of the production studio. It was a means to go outside and experience things that were new and sometimes unusual or uncomfortable. I quickly became very interested in recording moments in my life and the lives of others. I like the idea of photographs finding different significance or importance in the future. Something that might seem typical to myself may become something else in 20 years. I keep a constant archive of all the pictures, its like a long term photo diary of my life. 

Your current project is very different from your previous one - Gloriavale, what was your motivation behind this change? 

In a lot of ways I see similarity to these bodies of work. They both are an insight into what could feel private or out of sight. Somehow I often find parallels between what would very much be considered contradictory themes or situations. For whatever reason, I have a drive to photograph different communities from all sides of the spectrum.

When and where is this exhibition taking place?

Let me See you is part of the Auckland Festival of Photography and is showing at Metro Gallery, Hobson St, Auckland. 2 - 24 June 2017.

What have you learnt from your previous exhibitions?

Editing the work is always a matter of collaboration between friends and colleagues. Making a selection of 10 photographs from a series of 2000 can be hard. I think that printing my work and physically spending time with it is crucial. Stepping away from the computer helps me a lot.

Your next project?

Recently I went on a couple of trips to Seoul, South Korea. I have been producing a series of work examining the history of the Cheonggyecheon stream over a decade after its rehabilitation project. It is an interesting story of politics, environment, and human mentality. This series is due to be presented as a photo book in 2018. I am happy to say that I will be showing a preview of this work along side Let me See you at this years festival for the first time.

Where can we see more of your work? 

I have been working on assignment for NZ Geographic over the last couple of years. There will be some features coming up very soon. Otherwise keep an eye on my website for announcements etc.

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