Into the Light is a serious, but readable history of photography in New Zealand. It provides a comprehensive survey of New Zealand's most significant photographers and is aimed at a general audience. Written as an essay-type narrative, it draws together many threads in a succinct and lively style and is themed around the work of New Zealand's leading photographers from the early 1850s, to the present day. The chronology is structured in relation to changes in technology, and international trends and movements, including: daguerreotypes, collotypes, photographer's studios, the photography of exploration, pictorialism, nationalism, photo-journalism, neo-realism, regionalism, feminism, and post-modernism. It is the first major New Zealand photographic history in recent times, building on the work done by previous New Zealand photographic historians including Hardwicke Knight, William Main and John Turner. It coincides with the recent upswing of interest in New Zealand photography and its elevated significance and place within visual arts and culture.
The photographers featured nclude early colonial professionals such as the Burton Brothers, George Valentine, and William and Fred Tyree, along with those documenting New Zealand's burgeoning identity in the Twentieth Centurey, such as John Pascoe during World War II and the gritty, authentic photography of Les Cleveland. Current senior practioners, such as Marti Friedlander, Peter Peryer, Ans Westra, Anne Noble and Laurence Aberhart all are represented, along with more contemporary practitioners such as Fiona Pardington, Gavin Hipkins and Yvonne Todd. In all, over 110 photographers are highlighted over a 160 year history. The book is large format, heavily illustrated throughout and produced to the highest standard. Into the Light makes a serious contribution to the appreciation and understanding of New Zealand photography, and will attract a broad readership among those interested in the visual arts, as well as becoming the standard reference for students, and those with a specialist interest in photography.