Hometown New Zealand

Author(s): Derek Smith (Photographer)

NZ - Pictorial | Photography

Derek Smith has spent most of his working life working as a meter reader, a deliberate choice of occupation, as it has allowed his to pursue his vocation as a photographer. Inspired by the social documentary style of photographers such as Walker Evans and William Eggleston, and closer to home Robin Morrision and Les Cleveland, he set out 30 years ago to actively record details of the cities, suburbs, small towns and rural areas he was visiting in the course of his work. His aim has always been to combine the often overlooked aesthetic qualities of everyday objects with a historical record of visual fashion. After beginning to build up a body of work in Auckland, Derek then moved to Wellington, Nelson, Dunedin and the Coromandel Peninusla in the course of his work. The result is a remarkable and unique collection of images covering the whole country, that are compelling both as photographs, but also as an important documentary record of New Zealand's social environment.

This iconic book of photographs by our very own Derek Smith is worth having for Derek's introduction alone. A meter reader for 30 years, his images display a New Zealand we all see, but rarely think of photographing.  I love the imaginative way they are grouped according to colour rather than the more usual way of grouping by place, so you can be looking at Alexandra, turn the page and - surprise! - you're in Motueka. A stimulating gift for a photographer. - Jan


Derek Smith's career as a meter reader has enabled him to take his camera to every worn corner of the country, urban and rural. His photographs of unintentional vernacular architecture and material incidentals are both a cultural record and aesthetically subtle. Smith belongs alongside Morison and Aberhart in the New Zealand photographic canon. - Thomas


Product Information

DEREK SMITH was born in Auckland, and has worked as a meter reader in Auckland, Nelson, Wellington, Dunedin and Coromandel, combining this work with his photography of the social environment of New Zealand’s rural and urban landscapes. He is a graduate of Wellington Polytechnic’s Professional Photography Course. After raising their son in Nelson, Derek and his wife are now travelling the country in a very comfortable caravan, with no real plans other than to absorb and photograph as much as possible.

General Fields

  • : 9781927213117
  • : Potton & Burton Limited
  • : Craig Potton Publishing
  • : August 2014
  • : 200 x 250 mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : August 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Hardback
  • : 144
  • : Derek Smith (Photographer)