Biography

 PHILOSOPHIC OVERVIEW: 'WAKEFULLNESS. EXPLORATION. REALISATION'.

Victoria Ginn was born on theb 14th October 1952 in the house of her grandmother in Thorndon,  Wellington New Zealand.

Of an indepenent nature, from the beginning of her photographic work, at the age of 15 years, this self-taught photographic-artist has embraced  the Individual/Individuality, in the context of personality,symbol, emotion, archetype.

Utilizing natural or found light, her creative focus, initially seen via the black-white Portrait evolved to encompass the intertwined contexts of Landscape and Culture.

In her photographic essays, done through the years mid 1960’s – mid 1990’s, Victoria explores the South Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand , South East Asia, Central Asia, Southern Europe -  to document art-performance-religious expressions of these regions.

Victoria Ginn’s work has been published world-wide, her major essay –The Spirited Earth – Dance, Myth and Ritual from South Asia to the South Pacific, published by the leading Fine-art Publisher Rizzoli International, New York.

Publications:

THE SPIRITED EARTH: Dance, Myth and Ritual from South Asia to the South Pacific, published by Rizzoli, New York, 1990. This 190 page colour book with 160 photographic images has also been published in French and German editions - Tihei Mauriora (Arthaud) and Geister der Erde (Metamorphoses Verlag) respectively. The Spirited Earth is the culmination of six years work and travel throughout the Pacific and Asia, including research and publication.

"The Spirited Earth is a stunning display which blends Ginn’s photos with her commentaries on societies which still blend religious tradition and performance."
The Bookwatch, USA

"Enthralling portrayals of performance art."
London Sunday Times

"Stunningly beautiful tribute to the exotic."
Dance Magazine New York N.Y.

"The work, superbly illustrated is a hymn of love for humanity. This fabulous reportage is unique in its kind."
Var Matin, Paris

"A collection of surprising beauty and originality."
Le Dauphine Libere, Paris

"In her exquisite book, Ginn shows the diversity of the societies she visited while revealing their shared interest in preserving their traditional cultures."
Publishers Weekly, USA

"Visionary sensitive photographs."
Stern Magazine Germany

"Not only I, but the few who work with me here, have been immensely impressed by the beauty, the originality and heightened perception of your work. It is a remarkable achievement."
Sir Laurens van der Post

"...her photography is not only of the highest quality, but is both imaginative and truly revealing of the marvelous qualities of her subjects..."
Michael Hoffman, Executive Director, Silver Mountain Foundation, Incorporating Aperture, New York, New York

"...an outstanding photographic record of dance in Asia which will complement and enhance the collections in our dance archive, the premier collection of dance materials in the world."
Dr Robert M Henderson, Chief, Library and Museum of the Performing Arts, New York, New York

FREEDOM’S EDGE: A memoir of a photographer’s journey and imprisonment in Afghanistan, published by Hazard Press, 2001. The story based on the memory of the photographer’s journey into Afghanistan in 1978 (includes 70 photographic plates).

"A powerful study of the psychology of imprisonment, as well as a portrait - in words and images - of Afghanistan in the last days before the Soviet invasion and the rise of the Taleban."
The Dominion, March 2001 - “Paperbacks” column. Reviewer: David Larsen.

"Freedom’s Edge is Victoria Ginn’s gripping account of what happens when an adventure goes off the rails."
North and South Magazine, February 2001. New Zealand Books by Chris Bourke.

"Spare, vivid, never self-indulgent, Freedom’s Edge is made even more pleasurable for the reader by the inclusion of 68 black-and-white plates printed from the films Ginn was able to recover before she left Afghanistan."
Kennedy Wayne, Signature Magazine Aug/Sept 2001.

"It’s such a reminder of the days when many people travelled in those wonderfully exotic parts of the world, and freely and easily spent all sorts of time (for all sorts of reasons) in Kabul."
Anne MacKenzie, Telefilm Canada - January 26 1998.

"In my humble opinion, the draft screenplay/outline contains all the ingredients for a riveting feature film..."
S. Wayne Clarkson, Chairman/CEO, Ontario Film Development Corporation.

"As I read the Treatment the story was happening on a screen for me... I can see the potential for a really interesting film."
Moya Wood, Feature Film Assessor, Australian Film Commission.

FIGURE IN THE NEW ZEALAND LANDSCAPE: Published by OTS Publishing Ltd, 2005. 128 page colour/black and white essay on human/ nature forms and eccentricities.

"Stunning...Visually arresting and imaginative, and looked to this layman at least, superb."
Elva Bett, Evening Post Newspaper, 1981

"Exceptional and beautiful."
Fiona Kidman. Bookmarks. The N.Z Listener

"I found your work interesting for its strangeness, it has not really anything to do with images seen before..... You have to persevere despite your isolation."
"Photographs of Victoria Ginn (Figure In a N.Z Landscape) are in the collection of the national museum of modern art and will be shown, in temporary display of our permanent collection."
Alain Sayag, Curator for Photography. Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

'...Ginn throws down the gauntlet of raw courage with a series of colour works; artfully photographed, cleverly posed and technically perfect work.'

Photographs by Eight. NZ Herald

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Ginn’s Photographic Art Collections Include:

MEDITATIONS ON A GARDEN

Based on the photographer's NZ Garden.

(series in Development)- 2002-2017

MOULDED IN THE IMAGE OF TIME (The Intelligent Eye) 

Fiji- 2015/16.

A revisualization of decaying photo-snap-shots found  near my home in the humid and macroscopically alive tropical rainforest of Fiji. An alchemy of time, heat, humidity and the ancient life-form - mould, the images expose a beauty and artistry akin to hallucinatory experiences revealed to imbibers of LSD. 

OPENINGS

Spain and Turkey (1996- images set 2004)

The Flamenco, Belly Dance, and Superimposition.

An exploration of the religious/erotic/emotional potency contained within the dance traditions of the Flamenco and Belly Dance. The essay utilises architecture and superimposition as a subjective means of releasing the interior luminosity inherent within these traditions. Granada, Andalusia. Central Turkey and Istanbul.

THE SPIRITED EARTH

(Dance, Myth And Ritual from South Asia to the South Pacific) (1984-90)

A philosophical study on the Human heart-soul as expressed through the performance art of South East Asia and the South Pacific.

Photographs include secular and sacred dance, drama, ritual expressions pertaining to tribal, folk and classical traditions of the peoples of Indonesia (Bali, Java, Sumatra), Kalimantan, Thailand, Nepal, India (Himalchal Pradesh, Haryana State, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka), New Zealand, Australia (Bathurst Island, Northern Territories, East Arnhem Land, Queensland), The Solomon Islands (Malaita, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz, Bellona), Vanuatu (Vao and Malekula Islands).

FIGURE IN A NEW ZEALAND LANDSCAPE

New Zealand (1979-81)

A semi-theatrical essay on the juxtaposition of the human form with the landscape - the symbolic, aesthetic, emotional, sexual, sensual, contradictory and humorous interplay between the two.

The images include the Elements: rock, fire, water, earth, field, tree, and the Human Form - performance artists, classical and experimental dancers, mime artists, and the naked body. Performers include: Limbs, N.Z. Ballet, Red Mole, amongst others.

FREEDOM’S EDGE

Afghanistan (1978)

A portrait of the photographer’s travels from Peshawar in Pakistan through to areas of pre-war Afganistan - Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-i Sharif, including a unique set of portraits of women/children prisoners  taken while the photographer was held in custody in a Kabul prison, with a camera smuggled in to her.

The series was partially destroyed.

A written account Freedom’s Edge (Afghanistan - a memoir of a journey and imprisonment) - was published in New Zealand in 2001.

See also - Freedom's Edge - SCREENPLAY OUTLINE

THE AWAKENING HEART

Papua New Guinea (1977)

A sojourn among the Stone Age people of the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, including the Huli tribes-people of the Ialuba Valley in the Tari Basin area.

The photographs depict a people on the cusp of acculturation into the Western world and include portraits of forest magicians, sorcerers, dandies, bachelor cult leaders, funerary rites, and a Stone Age culture of the cusp of irrevocable change.

INSIDE OUTSIDERS

New Zealand (1960s-70s)

Beginning with the image of an attacking bird (Shadow of Eden), this series covers the formative period of the photographer’s perception and creative development. The series reflects a vision of New Zealand society as seen in the mid 1960s - early 1970s.

Excerpt from Exhibition Review.

˜Photography's claim to being the most popular art form is well supported by the interest being shown in Victoria Ginn's photographs of people exhibited in the University library, the most exciting photographic show by a local seen in this town...If it is presumptuous to see this exhibition as an autobiographical statement, it is not so to be aware of a very personal purgatorial vision of the city, balanced by an exuberance, a deep compassion for people and a warmth.... Victoria Ginn has an originality of talent and vision and I look forward to seeing more of her work."

Neil Rowe, for Salient Magazine.Victoria University. 1975

CONTRIBUTOR:
ABRAMS BOOKS
TIME-LIFE BOOKS
SILVER-BURDETT GINN - Educational Books

FEATURE ARTICLES:
NEW ZEALAND LISTENER
NZ HERALD
PACIFIC WAY NZ
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD - Australia
GEO - Australia
HURRIYET - Turkey
AIRONE - Italy
MORNING CALM - Korea
CITY AND COUNTRY HOME - Canada
SAWASDEE - Hong Kong
ANIMAN - Switzerland
THE EARTH - China

FILM STILLS:
UTU - chief stills photographer
MAURI - pre-production concept stills and chief stills on production

CONSULTANT: Sitges International Dance Festival - Spain

COMMISSIONS include...

A Photographic documentation of significant architectural/cultural monuments and buildings within the City of Wellington region, prior to the demolishing of many of these landmarks. Commissioned by Historic Places Trust 1970's

Portrait study of Wellington based artists, commissioned by City Art Gallery -1970's.

Study of performance artists, commissioned by Arts Center Wellington - 1970's

EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS - Britain

DIRECTOR: SPHINX GALLERY - an experimental exhibition venue for all artistic mediums (1970's Wellington NZ)

DIRECTOR: OTS PUBLISHING LTD

EXHIBITIONS-PERMANENT COLLECTIONS

Include...

The City Art Gallery Wellington New Zealand (Figure in the NZ Landscape).

Georges Pompidou Centre Paris (Permanent Collection - Figure in the NZ Landscape.)

The Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts - New York.N.Y. (The Spirited Earth.)

Te Papa - Wellington NZ (Permanent Collection).

Auckland War Memorial Museum- (Permanent Collection- The Awakening Heart.)

COLLECTORS: The Photographer currently has available for purchase a complete vintage print essay (one edition only -80 prints)  of Freedom's Edge - A journey and Imprisonment in Afghanistan 1978.

Plus, one edition only vintage Cibachrome prints pertaining to The Spirited Earth, formerly exhibited at the Lincon center New York.

Contact: victoria.ginn@photographic.co.nz