Harry Culy

Tyne Gordon

Ayesha Green

Jaime Jenkins

Claudia Kogachi

Caroline McQuarrie

Lucy O’Doherty

Elisabeth Pointon

Kāryn Taylor

Christopher Ulutupu

Erica van Zon

Denys Watkins

Bio | Harry Culy


Jhana Millers Art Gallery Wellington Harry Culy

Harry Culy on a shoot, image by Molly Tompkins

Listen to Harry being interviewed by Lynn Freeman on RNZ Standing room only



Born 1986

Lives and works in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington


Culy’s practice comes from an urgent desire to record the world around him. He often works on long term projects that span a number of years, frequently returning to places and communities that he has a personal connection to. He uses this process to examine everyday contemporary life in both Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand through photography.

Culy works predominantly with large-format film photographs, and within the expanded documentary photography tradition. However his approach is not journalistic, rather it is lyrical and personal, embracing the ambiguity inherent within the medium, allowing gaps for our own reading.

Each image Culy takes is a pause amid an intensive, wandering process. This process produces enigmatic photographs found within daily life, often including vacant interiors, stark portraits, and landscapes — which may hint at narratives beyond the picture plane. His work is influenced by the Antipodean Gothic art movement.

He says of this movement, “I don’t exactly know why I’m interested in this type of work… I think I am subconsciously drawn to it. It’s difficult to describe, but it draws on Freud’s notion of the ‘Uncanny’. I have spent a lot of time going down the rabbit hole, researching, reading books, watching films, looking at ‘gothic’ painting and art – looking at ideas behind the gothic — like the post-colonial discourse, and the way it works on a psychological level. I guess I’m drawn to the feeling it gives me, especially with everyday life... More than anything it’s a feeling of being unsettled, of uneasiness, of anxiety. That feeling seems to echo my relationship to Aotearoa and my own sense of ‘home’.”

Culy completed his Master of Fine Arts at Toi Rauwhārangi College of Creative Arts, Massey University Wellington, in 2020. He has exhibited across New Zealand and Australia over the last 5 years. In 2021 he received an Arts Foundation Laureate award receiving the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award.

His recent exhibitions include News From The Sun at City Gallery Wellington 2019-2020, Mirror City at Jhana Millers Gallery in 2020, The Gap at Parlour Projects 2018, I can see for miles at the Contemporary Centre for Photography Melbourne, 2018, and Rose Hill as part of Projects 2018 at the Auckland Art Fair.

Alongside his photography work, Culy runs a small press photobook company called Bad News Books.


Education

Master of Fine Arts Toi Rauwhārangi College of Creative Arts, Massey University Wellington

Bachelor of Design (Photography) with first class Honours, Massey University Wellington


Exhibitions
2021

The Right Place?, Auckland Art Fair, Jhana Millers

2020

Mirror City, Jhana Millers, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington

2019

News from the Sun (with Shaun Waugh and Justine Varga), City Gallery Wellington, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington

Nobody Believe you (Bad luck), Jhana Millers, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington

The Garden, Precinct 35, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington

Altered Visions, China Heights, Sydney

2018

Blue Room (with Lucy O’Doherty), Jhana Millers, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington

The Gap, Parlour Projects, Te Matau-a-Māui, Hawkes Bay

Projects, Auckland Art Fair, The Cloud, Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

I can see for miles, Contemporary Centre for Photography Melbourne

CLIP Award Exhibition, Perth Centre for Photography, Perth

2017

Rose Hill, Parlour Projects, Te Matau-a-Māui, Hawkes Bay

Evidence (with Sam Stephenson), China Heights, Sydney

LCE4, Lilac City Studio, Sydney

Pink Bits, Precinct 35, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington

2016

The Gap, Precinct 35, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington

The Big Nowhere, with Max Scott Murray and Robyn Daly, GOJA, Bangkok, Thailand

Sky Colours, with Robyn Daly, Australia

Gaffa Photo Festival, Gaffa Gallery, Sydney

2014

By the Wayside, Photospace Gallery, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington


Curation

Where the River Bends, In Situ x Ilam, Ōtautahi, Christchurch

Ectoplasm, Green Street Gallery, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington


Awards

2021 Arts Foundation Laureate receiving the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award

Peter Turner Scholarship in documentary photography, 2018

RT Emerging Artists Award, 2016, NZ


Reviews and Essays

Story 79: Harry Culy, Nowhere Diary. Read here

Family Practice, ArtZone, February 2021. Read here

Under the black hood, ArtZone, June 2019. Read here

Take me back, ArtZone, October 2018. Read here

News from the Sun, exhibition catalogue. Read here

News from the sun, Art News New Zealand, 2020. Read here

News from the sun reviewed, Photoforum. Read here

Meet the Culys, Index magazine. Read here

Bad News Books – an interview, Photofroum, August 2018. Read here

Palmstudios, Feature — Harry Culy. Read here

The heavy collective — Harry Culy and San Stephenson, Evidence. Read Here

Harry Culy on Antipodean Gothic, thisonthat.org. Read here

Time, being and Harry Culy, Art New Zealand, Winter 2017. Read here

Seconds Magazine, issue 6, 2016 (NZ)

Blow Up Photography Annual, issue 1, 2014 (Aus)

Massive Magazine, issue 6, 2013 (NZ)