Photography as art is gaining momentum slowly, slowly in New Zealand

Rhein_II_2052673bRhein 11 fetched US$4,338,500 in 2011

Photography as art is gaining momentum in New Zealand , albeit slowly  –  however there is still a huge gap between our top earning photographers and the rest of the world.  Scroll down for the latest auction prices from Art + Object. Our top-selling Photographer is Fiona Partington with a suite of work that sold for  $64.728. Whereas Peter Lik from Australia’s top priced work is  $1,000,000.  I notice too that some of the  names that were on the top of this list several years ago have dropped off of it as newer artists such as the afore-mentioned photographer Peter Lik gain recognition. These photographers that reach the heady heights all have agents, most have studied fine art  and  more importantly perhaps they have stuck with their craft and believed in themselves, success comes from hard work and good luck. I firmly believe you make your own luck to a large extent!! Create what the public perceive as collectible and unique, sometimes its the mundane, sometimes it is pure genius.

How many of you buy photography or even consider it? Cartier Bresson’s  work has sky rocketed in price since he died in 2004, New Zealand’s Brian Brake work has seen a big jump in value as have several other prominent NZ photographers. Ming Temple editioned print  might set you back 2-4 thousand but a print from the Te Papa gift store is perhaps $30-40 52475752

Ming Temple by Brian Brake

World rankings

Rank Artist Work Price Date Seller/Auction
1 Andreas Gursky Rhein II (1999) $4,338,500 November 8, 2011 Christie’s New York.[1]
2 Cindy Sherman Untitled #96 (1981) $3,890,500 May 2011 Christie’s New York.[2] A seventh print of Untitled #96 sold for $2.88 million at Christie’s in May 2012.[3]
3 Jeff Wall Dead Troops Talk (A vision after an ambush of a Red Army patrol, near Moqor, Afghanistan, winter 1986) (1992) $3,666,500 May 8, 2012 Christie’s New York.[4]
4 Andreas Gursky 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001) $3,346,456 February 2007 Sotheby‘s London auction.[5] A second print of 99 Cent II Diptychon sold for $2.48 million in November 2006 at a New York gallery, and a third print sold for $2.25 million at Sotheby’s in May 2006.[5]
5 Edward Steichen The Pond-Moonlight (1904) $2,928,000 February 2006 Sotheby’s New York auction.[6]
6 Cindy Sherman Untitled #153 (1985) $2,700,000 November 2010 Phillips de Pury & Co. New York.[2]
7 unknown Billy the Kid (1879–80) tintype portrait $2,300,000 June 2011 Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction.[7]
8 Dmitry Medvedev Tobolsk Kremlin (2009) $1,750,000 January 2010 Christmas Yarmarka, Saint Petersburg.[8][9][10]
9 Edward Weston Nude (1925) $1,609,000 April 2008 Sotheby‘s New York auction.[11]
10 Alfred Stieglitz Georgia O’Keeffe (Hands) (1919) $1,470,000 February 2006 Sotheby’s New York auction.[6]
11 Alfred Stieglitz Georgia O’Keeffe Nude (1919) $1,360,000 February 2006 Sotheby’s New York auction.[6]
12 Richard Prince Untitled (Cowboy) (1989)[12] $1,248,000 November 2005 Christie’s New York auction.[13]
13 Richard Avedon Dovima with elephants (1955) $1,151,976 November 2010 Christie’s Paris auction.[14]
14 Edward Weston Nautilus (1927) $1,082,500 April 2010 Sotheby‘s New York auction.[15]
15 Peter Lik One (2010) $1,000,000 December 2010 Anonymous collector[16][17][18][19]This purported sale was a private sale and not verifiable. All other sales on this list are public auction records.
16 Jeff Wall Untangling (1994) $1,000,000 AUD 2006 [20]
17 Eugène Atget Joueur d’Orgue (1898–1899) $686,500 April 2010 Christie’s New York auction.[21]
18 Robert Mapplethorpe Andy Warhol (1987) $643,200 October 17, 2006 Christie’s New York auction.[22]
19 Ansel Adams Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (1948)[23] $609,600 October 2006 Sotheby’s New York auction.[24]


N.Z. photos at auction

Thankyou to Ben Plumbly  ( Art + Object) for this review on the  ten highest N.Z. photography sales in the period 2007–2014

Fiona Pardington
Ake Ake Huia1
Edition of 3, 2004
1210 x 930mm

Realised $30,385

2010 represented a remarkable year for Fiona Pardington. Her breath-taking Ake Ake Huia realised $30,385 to become the highest selling photograph at auction, and then, when the Quai Branly Suite achieved $64.728. This was the first time in this country that a contemporary photographer realised prices comparable to their peers working in more traditional media.


Gavin Hipkins
The Next Cabin

20 C-type prints, each in an edition of 8, dated 2002
600 x 400mm each

Realised $46,900 June 2011

Gavin Hipkins is another photographer to have garnered a significant international following. The Next Cabin which set a new benchmark for his market at auction. Offered with an estimate of $25,000 – $35,000, it sailed past this to realise $46,900 and become the second highest selling photographic work on the New Zealand auction market. 

C – type print, edition of 8, 2001
1500 x 1200mm

Realised $24,035 November 2013


Anne Noble
In the Presence of Angels

Portfolio of twelve selenium toned gelatin silver prints in an edition of ten
each print signed and dated 1989
187 x 352mm: each print

Realised $18,000  August 2013

Anne Noble is one of New Zealand’s  most widely respected photographers and was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to photography in 2003. In 2001 she was honoured with a retrospective exhibition and a major book about her work spanning 20 years. Initiated by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, the exhibition toured from 2001–2003. In the presence of angels – photographs of the contemplative life (1988 – ’90), a beautiful boxed portfolio of 12 exquisitely printed selenium-toned photographs together with the original cover sheet, came from an extended study of a silent order of Benedictine nuns in a London convent. Many of the defining indexes of Noble’s oeuvre – her interest in darkness and light, tactility, dignity and quietude – play out strongly in this series. One particular photograph in the series A Place Setting in the Refectory, shows the photographer’s name at a setting at the dining table and thus provides the viewer with valuable insight into the privileged position she obtained in having access to the community and capturing their daily rituals and lives.


Laurence Aberhart
Taranaki (the Heavens Declare the Glory of God)

gold and selenium toned gelatin silver print
title inscribed, signed and dated 14 May, 1986
195 x 245mm

Realised $12,000  August 2012

Aberhart has always been, one of our most important artists. Perhaps there is little less fashionable way to work in the twenty first century than with a nineteenth century plate camera. Here, the spherical roof of the observatory recalls Colin McCahon’s Waterfall series, whilst the auratic glow of light and the miniaturised mountain in the rear combine to create an immensely powerful, art-historically informed and beautiful tableau.

Brian Brake

Offerings to the Unknown Dead – Kyoto, 1964
colour photograph printed from Kodak transparency on Ektacolour paper
original Brian Brake: Dowse Art Gallery exhibition label affixed verso
460 x 665mm

Realised $12 600 December 2010

Brian Brake is our most renowned photographer due principally to his vocation as a photo-journalist and his membership of the prestigious Magnum agency alongside such luminaries as Henri Carier-Bresson and Ernst Haas. His photo-essays such as Monsoon and Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau at a Bullfight were seen by millions through magazines like Life and were even exhibited in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. In 2010 A+O presented over 60 photographs from the artist’s estate for a book, exhibition and auction timed to coincide with renewed interest in the photographer’s work brought about by the large-scale retrospective and monograph put together by Athol McCredie at Te Papa. The highest selling lot of the evening went to the complete set of twenty prints from the Bullfight essay which made $43 968. Yet it was the beautiful image Offering to the Unknown Dead, Kyoto, 1964, heavily utilised by Te Papa in their promotion of the Brian Brake retrospective exhibition, which captured the hearts and minds of collectors on the auction night realizing $12 600.

Yvonne Todd

Lightjet print 2/3
title inscribed, signed and dated 2006 verso
1360 x 1065mm

Realised $11 725 March 2012

Jae Hoon Lee

type C print, edition of 10
1900 x 1485mm

Realised $11,725  November 2011

Jae Hoon Lee is one of the key proponents in this country of a new generation of photo-media artists who is ‘making’ rather than ‘taking’ photographs, in the traditional sense. That is to say the emphasis of the creative process has shifted from his taking a photograph in the field to constructing the image on computer programmes such as photoshop.

Peter Peryer
gelatin silver print
title inscribed, signed and dated 1987 verso
460 x 302mm

Realised $10,405      June 2009

Peter Peryer is one of our most respected and distinguished photographers. The thought processes behind the photographs are the defining trope of his practice. Peryer has remarked that he actually spends very little time taking photographs but sometimes months leading up to the actual taking of the image thinking about the particular photograph he wants to takeLike Anne Noble, Peryer has seamlessly entered the digital age and embraced technological change, he now almost exclusively produces digital images often shot on his iphone.

Ans Westra
gelatin silver print
260 x 265mm

Realised $9,025.00  August 2014

The audience for Westra’s black and white photographs from the late 1950s through to the 1980s has been steadily increasing in recent times. This Untitled image realised $9025 in April of this year and in doing so set a new benchmark for the photographer’s prices at auction. Born in the Netherlands, Westra came to New Zealand in 1957. Working as a freelance photo-journalist in her twenties, Westra was attracted to Ma¯ori as she felt they were the most open and interesting subject available to her. Without question one of our finest social commentators and documentary photographers her great skill for me is the obvious trust she engenders from her subjects, her photographs always appear ‘un-posed’, as if she and her camera are invisible to the people and scenes she portrays. Thus, the distance between the subject and viewer is perhaps closer and less mediated than in any other photographs you will encounter in New Zealand.

Michael Parekowhai

Boulogne from the Consolations of Philosophy – Piko nei te matenga


C – type print, edition of 8, 2001
1500 x 1200mm

Realised $24,035 November 2013

(The end of Art + Objects’ report.)

So I am closing this blog with a little request to you all , attend photography exhibitions and consider purchasing work. Buy work that you couldn’t create on your own camera, moments in time, work that cannot be re photographed tomorrow. Not everyone will agree with me but that is my main guiding thought when purchasing photography. I have a very small collection of photography, Xie Hailong and  an original Cartier Bresson but mostly NZ photographers. They give me great pleasure and I change them around. Some photographers whom I would like to buy if I win lotto are Marti Friedlander, Bill Henson, Tony Hewitt, Annie Liebovitz and Fan Ho none of whom appear on these lists.

[As a minor player, not in any of these folks league, if I  sell a work for 7-8 hundred I am very happy.  I’m pleased to say I do sell a few works but I couldn’t feed a family on it!]  I sold a  copy of “The Parnell Pool” limited edition print after I blogged it recently 🙂 and then a small print from my Broken Dreams blog 🙂

Broken dreams – being widowed.

email broken dreams_

Being widowed is no picnic…

I was widowed over ten years ago and now days I can talk about  it more easily. At the time our dreams for the future were shattered.

If your husband (wife/partner) dies suddenly, that is quite different from someone dying  from the ghastly cancer.  I wouldn’t dare suggest how others might respond. They are all totally different journeys. I nursed my husband for months, and this article is about how I managed my grief.

If these words help even one of you I will be pleased. Everyone’s experience is quite different so we mustn’t judge others on our own journey, it seems to me that our lives prior to this tragic event have a huge bearing on our ability to deal with this and move forward. Some folk are not emotionally able to move on and hit a brick wall.   What goes before has  a huge bearing on who we are and how we cope with life’s curve balls   People don’t choose to react negatively, I’m  sure of that. They just cannot see light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not talking about the elderly here, more about people in their prime of life. Make no mistake, it’s tough. 

For me, after my husband died,  I had this strong believe that I had to make my life count, I owed it to my husband who was taken far too young. I have no idea when my number will be up so I get on with it and more or less live life as though there is no tomorrow (or at least like there may be no next week, month or year).  Easier said than done for sure, but time does heal all wounds and it is possible to create a new and definitely different existence. Some folk re-marry, most don’t.  It’s not so much about getting over it, as getting on with it.

Life does  change – when looking back, I compartmentalise my life into stages,  my childhood /pre-marriage; marriage/ motherhood/ family era  and then ‘widowhood’ – all totally different stages, all with their  highs and their lows. I hate the word widow but we seem to be stuck with it!  Latin -videre to separate 12th century.

I had to stop myself saying ” it isn’t fair” and say “well wasn’t I lucky to have thirty wonderful years with a man I loved and who loved me. Many people never have this”. I told myself how lucky I was to have two children who needed a Mother from time to time and really  cared for me. I told myself how lucky I was to have such supportive friends and family. I told myself how lucky I was not to be poor.  I told myself these things over and over and over so I chased away the self-pity eventually.  It seemed to work.

I now have so much to look forward to. I have grandchildren to watch grow up. I have family and friends who include me in so many events. If I’m feeling low I contact them and arrange to have coffee or see a movie, or just chat.  I’m pro-active. My solo existence is better than just existing, I can enjoy many things either with friends or on my own. I’m happy to go by myself to a movie and shed a tear in the darkness of the theatre. I see people having marriage crisis and ultimately divorce, in some ways worse than being widowed. At least I don’t have anger and bitterness to contend with.

There are times when dark clouds come across my sky and I will cry and feel lonely, but I know these will pass over so I no longer panic when I’m having a bad day. I’ve learnt it will  definitely not linger long. Talk to someone understanding when these times strike, these moods often arrive without warning.  A  book or a movie might set you off, who knows but the triggers are always there. Tears are never far away, one doesn’t forget, one just makes the most of one’s situation and you learn to live with the feelings. Tears are good, it means we are alive and have feelings.

I should celebrate a new grandchild, and I do, but they are bitter-sweet times. Or when a child does well in life, I want to celebrate the pride I feel, and I do, but it is always bitter-sweet. When I see an elderly couple holding hands I think this should be us, I’m sad, yet happy for them, and so it goes on.

A major point in grieving is to avoid negative people. People who always say things like ”I don’t know how you cope, it must be terrible for you”. These comments achieve nothing. People who are always complaining about their lot, avoid them, they drag you down. One copes because there is no choice. You cope out of respect to your husband or wife’s memory. You cope because you don’t want  to burden your children. There are many reasons why one copes. I don’t think it matters why people struggle with grief so much as what can be done to help.  It is often the little things that help. So my friends if you are in this situation or know someone grieving, be positive to them. Reassure them that life will improve. Be there for them, hold their hand on occasions, remind them how lucky they are compared to … we all know people worse off than us, ( choose your timing on this one), a phone call saying “I’m thinking of you ” is always appreciated.  But reiterate the positives. Give them a hug, they will be missing hugs.. and  keep in touch, especially that first year. Weekends can be the worst time  I find , families are busy and you are often sitting at home. Yesterday someone asked me why I didn’t go somewhere one night recently,  I wouldn’t ever go some places on my own at night! One has to be aware and show caution when on ones own.

Anyway, have faith, time heals.  Buy yourself flowers. Create some happiness around you, it is contagious. Stay positive. Also cry, laugh, sing, and remember you were lucky to have had this special person in your life.

Imagine a life with no love. Now that would be tragic. Comments welcome, either privately or on site. 



An ex-pat Kiwi’s first weeks in Myanmar



The above  photo, is taken from a place called Saigan – Taken at  the Temple Kuang Mue Dho – looking across other Pergadas to the river Irrawaddy to Mandalay.

My cousin Mary sent this delightfully written account of settling into 2 years in Mandalay and is happy for me to share it with you.

If you have had a bad day read this and be grateful for the many things we take for granted.

We have cleaned / scrubbed/hosed down, 3 of the 4 ensuite bathrooms – still 1 to go plus the guest loo which has the shower as well! – and the showers go all over the floors and loos and – yes – no curtains – we have taken our ensuite for face  and teeth cleaning etc., and one spare room for showering. NO HOT WATER – and it is very cold now – summer time will be OK, but hoping to get the Solar system working when we find a plumber.

Our washing machine is not installed, so I have been hand washing towels etc – did send Mr Bill’s clothing out to a lady around the corner 3 days ago, and I haven’t tackled sheets yet!

I said to Mr. Bill – it is rather like glorified camping/glamping.

Actually – of all the countries & homes we have lived, ( and they have lived in quite a few) this would be the gloomiest, with no character at all – and as it is a Police Generals home, it has tinted windows –


The house..

Mozzie screens and grills over all windows and front door and garage, so it makes it dark – as Mr  Bill was heading downstairs this morning, he said -“Off to open up the Castle” – well  I think it is Fort Knox. he also said “it is like living in a huge bathroom” There are off white tiled walls from the top floor area which is their prayer room, down 3 flights of stairs to the kitchen and store cupboard – we have had the sitting room painted white – and then the bedrooms each have their own pink patterned wallpapers – and the upstairs sitting area – bright yellow with pink flowers – now I do love my colour – but not in this style!

Anyway – the huge carved Teak wood, [honey coloured,] glittered and dirty floral covered thrones and sofa, have gone to be stored in the downstairs bedroom – and we have purchased a black leather – call it vinyl – sofa set. Best we have seen, and we found it up in the hill town of Pyi Oo Lwin, so it had to be trucked down here on Tuesday. I had fortunately bought some cushion covers from my favourite Jim Thompson shop in Bangkok, so I have had them stuffed – now I need some curtains – and I have just seen a modern wool rug in cream,charcoal and grey/brown colours from Belgium,that will add some more coziness to the grey/black/white speckled floor tiles we have throughout the down stairs area – getting the picture??

Have found some gorgeous Palm tree trunks that I have had made into side tables, and as there is a hole in the top of the largest one – Mr Bill was very clever and put the Lazy Susan from the kitchen dining table there, and we have a small dining table or what ever!

I was not going to buy a thing to take home – but those things  will travel – trying not to go overboard with buying goodies,but it is hard when one loves home making.

I have also bought x 2 Mosquito swatter racquets to eliminate the many Mozzies with whom we are sharing our home.

Have just been out shopping with my pet taxi driver Mr. Soe – looking for curtain material – what I have seen is hideous with a capital H – but I did find some bright colours in the market that may be suitable – and then to find someone to make could be tricky. Mr Soe then took me to the carpet shop where I spotted these wool rugs from Belgium – already have 18 rugs in storage in NZ from  life in Pakistan!!

I found a Market with baskets for storage, bought 8 items in total, and for US$15:00 they seemed a bargain – I have had my water play outside on my return with a fabulous high volume hose cleaning them all.

Sadly this house has no garden – just a few steps from street to front door on concrete – 3 stories high.  plenty of room for guests.


The kitchen has no cooking facilities – very dark, but with lights on day and night, we will cope. Have since bought a hot plate and a bench top oven.

While driving around with Mr. Soe, I realise now that the Monsoon season could be rather exciting here – we have had a lot of rain from yesterday mid afternoon until this morning – huge lakes of water in several parts of the city,so drainage is obviously typical of a developing country – as is the mud and muck!  The farmers will be loving the rain.

We have been to December Farm for 2 visits now – the best farm in the area  Mr Bill said. It is in Pyi Oo Lwin in the hills 2 hours drive from here in Mandalay. Refreshing, and the owner has 2 plus acres of area with small animals in enclosures for the public to view, and outdoor dining area under thatched roofed kiosks with loads of lawn and gardens and trees – great food too.

It is wonderful for me if I can make some of these visits with Mr Bill, as it is very lonely when there is no one to talk to!!

I am enjoying it all so far – many challenges, and for Mr Bill also. One thing is getting dosh into the country to run the project – Visa has very limited use, so to use the ATM’s costs us $12:50 to withdraw $300:00 – Hoping it will become easier with time. .Also the lack of Myanmar language is a hindrance at this stage.

No Internet connection in the office or here in the house, but Mr Bill’s office boy has found a SIM card system for us – however it is far more costly than we are used to.

Must go and collect the baskets from the front door before someone else does! Actually – we feel very safe here – we have a Monastery over the road and the Gong goes for almost 2 minutes – [maybe 1,] every morning at 4 AM!! Mmmmmm.

Enough from Mandalay for now  –  I  hope all going well for the silly season that is  rapidly approaching.

new update, washing machine installed and all the white linen is slightly brown as the tan

When I read this I thought good for you Mary.. you are a real intrepid traveller 🙂


Every Christmas I buy books and receive books.. no complaints what so ever. Travel books remind us of exotic places we have travelled to long after the suit case is unpacked.  I think books are a great engagement, wedding and birthday gift as well as Christmas. I have a cook book  we received as a wedding gift in 1974 and I still refer to it. Every newspaper does book lists so this is mine; cook books,  photo books & children’s books; books I would give or like to receive. [ this is not necessarily a hint to my family 🙂 ] The Graham Sydney book also came in a linen slip cover signed and numbered but they are scarce as hens teeth after several weeks on the market! You could try Arcadia Bookstore ( my favourite bookstore ) in Newmarket who have one signed copy or McLeod’s Bookstore in Rotorua another store with stock.  But be quick!  So this Christmas hunt out something special in the book line. 

Grahame Sydney Paintings 1974 – 2014

Grahame Sydney Paintings 1974 – 2014

Published 2014 by Craig Potton Publishing. $99.00 including  slip cover.

This beautiful 304 page hardback in slipcase features over 200 paintings and covers Grahame’s 40 year career as a full-time artist. In this landmark book, which features many unseen works as well as his most loved landscapes and figurative paintings, Grahame delves into his childhood in Dunedin and the beginnings of his obsession with art. Most book stores have this in stock. – See more here  :


I did a photo book on New York myself a few years ago ( available from ) This newly released book caught my attention.  Everyone loves New York and this book will jolt your travel memories. New York Through the Lens NZ mail order click on link.


A Poetic Photographic Vision of the World’s Most Exciting City

Street photographers will never tire of New York as a subject. It is the perfect setting for the genre, with candid, insightful moments appearing everywhere. Vivienne Gucwa is out there, every day, capturing these fleeting glimpses of human drama, and here she presents an elegant volume showcasing the stunning results of her ongoing quest. Lush images are front and center throughout the book, supported by insightful commentary, engaging anecdotes, tales from the road, and professional tips on how to reliably seek out and capture scenes of such perennial enjoyment.


This next book is a small gift book and a real treasure. Beautiful photography. Not newly published but still a real gem. Great value at $26.86  from FishpondTUI


A nest in the bush

Meg Lipscombe

Tui is an intimate and rare look at the beginning of a tui’s life. It is presented as a series of photographs showing the 37-day development of a pair of tui from eggs to fledglings.

The author is a photographer living at Lake Tarawera, surrounded by native forest and an abundant variety of bird life. One spring morning in 2011 Meg noticed a tui disappear into a Pseudopanax bush with a twig in its mouth, and discovered that the nest, while well hidden from below, could be seen from her balcony. By carefully removing some leaves from the bush she was able to get a clear view of the nest, giving her a rare opportunity to visually record the beginning of a tui’s life.

THIS ONE IS NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN BUY!! But it is worthy of a mention. book

Dos-à-dos binding refers to a technique whereby two books are bound at their backs, allowing you to read one book, flip the conjoined pair over, and continue reading the other book. Pictured here is a beautiful example of a sixfold dos-à-dos binding, which, as you may have guessed, combines half a dozen separate books into one.



Printed in the late 16th century this small book from the National Library of Sweden is an example of six fold dos-à-dosbinding, where six books are conjoined into a single publication but can be read individually with the help of six perfectly placed clasps. This particular book was printed in Germany and like almost all books at the time is a religious devotional text. The National Library of Sweden has a fantastic photo collection of historical and rare books where you can find many more gems like this.

Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill: A Story from the Rena Disaster, by Debbie McCauley

This children’s  book is based on the NZ oil spill from the ship Rena. Beautiful illustrations.

Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill by Debbie McCauley is a bilingual children’s picture book on the Rena Disaster, which was released on 5 October 2014 Available at University Bookstore Akld, Trade me (signed) Academy Books   McLeod’s in Rotorua and many more stores. Approx NZ$29.00

TWO Cook Books on my Christmas list 🙂 book-pop-up-straight

Depot is such a fun eatery  in Auckland City.   Al’s approach to cooking is all about simplicity and generosity. His dishes deliver uncomplicated excellence and showcase the culinary landscape of New Zealand. People and place are key to his philosophy; wonderful friends and unique locations will always enhance an eating experience. In Al’s opinion, food is the vehicle for conversation, fun and memorable occasions.  Readily available in NZ bookstores. 


I always grabbed PLENTY first when I had guests to impress.. seriously  good recipes. 

The hotly anticipated follow-up to London chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling and award-winning cookbookPlenty, featuring more than 150 vegetarian dishes organized by cooking method.Picking up the (carrot) baton from PLENTY, PLENTY MORE opens the window even further onto the ever-expanding world of vegetables, grains and legumes. Finally in NZ book stores.

I love making Blurb books, they are unique and high quality. I also  will give lessons locally (Auckland NZ) to anyone wishing to create a book of their travels or family.  Contact me  Lynn . [turquoise words contain links]

A Glimpse of India and Jodphur the Blue City are my coffee table books on India – fabulous  Christmas gifts for someone who has visited india. Jodphur the Blue City  is punctuated with famous quotes such as this one from the Dalai Lama “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito”  – Buy from Amazon



jodphur cover


Afica Safari is a collection of black and white images from Botswana and the Serengeti etc. (Cover Photo)

(I have this in stock in Auckland)

Botswana Leopard

Kiwigran goes to Turkey is the latest of the books about Kiwi Grans’ travels. These can be ordered directly from Blurb or I can custom order one for you removing references to Kiwigran! Some folk have been happy to buy as they are 🙂 (Flag photo is the cover)


My favourite children’s book is The Pacific Ocean  an educational look at that vast body of water between the USA and New Zealand ( more or less) This book was selected for the Australian Library collection. You can preview these all on line at BLURB. (I have stock of this in Auckland)

Other books areKiwigran goes to IndiaandKiwigran goes to Africa‘.   These are all aimed at 4-10 year olds.Kiwigran goes to Turkey is the latest of the books about Kiwi Grans’ travels. These can be ordered directly from Blurb or I can custom order one for you removing references to Kiwigran! Some folk have been happy to buy as they are 🙂

Z 2 LMC-9525


Bespoke BLURB Book orders take around 3 weeks to arrive in NZ as they are printed to order. Hard covers and professionally bound they are beautiful unique gifts for sure. The children’s books are 8 x10 inches approx.

If you have read to the end you deserve a joke! Laugh, I did.

English Stiff Upper Lip: On a train from London to Manchester , an Australian was berating the Englishman sitting across from him in the  compartment. “You English are too stuffy. You set yourselves apart too much. You think your stiff upper lip makes you above the rest of us. Look at me… I’m ME! I have Italian blood, Greek blood, a little Irish blood, and some Aborigine blood. What do you say to that?”

The Englishman replied, “Awfully sporting of your mother, old chap!”


Bazaar Istanbul – a photographic essay by Lynn Clayton

The Grand Bazaar Istanbul – a photographic essay by Lynn Clayton


Mazes always freaked me out so it was with some intrepidation that I first ventured into the maze known as the Grand Bazaar. I had been privy to a rooftop view of thousands of orange tiles covering 54.653 square metres consequently the thought of getting lost was very real.

photo f gate 1
There are more than 20 entrances so rule # 1 remember the Gate number you enter, and exit the same place if possible.

Let the romance of the Ottoman Empire sweep you through the hundreds of passageways adorned with ornate ceilings and welcoming Turkish people.

Don’t panic if you think you are lost, you can always ask for directions, most shop owners speak some English.
300,000 thousand tourists supposedly visit every day, however before 11am it is not crowded. Early morning the shop keepers are washing their pavement area or sitting chatting over small glasses of Turkish Tea.
LMC-0414-Edit-Edit photo 7

photo tea

They don’t hassle you early in the morning and even later in the day the Turkish people are very polite; they ask you a question to engage you but accept a ‘No Thankyou ‘ response quite happily.

The Grand Bazaar (Turkish: Kapalıçarşı, means ‘Covered Bazaar. The construction of the Grand Bazaar’s started during the winter of 1455/56, shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Sultan Mehmet II had an edifice erected devoted to the trading of textiles, and today, 500 years later, it is a thriving Trading Post. I loved poking around the eclectic mix of shops.
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I have no idea how extensive the bazaar really is, as I seemed to keep returning to the same area. Most tourists arrive at Gate # 1. There are cafes inside selling good Italian or Western food and coffee. There are toilets with long queues outside Gate1. There are more hidden inside. There is an armed policeman at every entrance so I was lulled into feeling relatively safe in the bazaar.
Some of the ceilings are more recent, some authentic and very old and dilapidated. The murals on the ceilings are quite beautiful in some areas so remember to look up.

I am no authority on the Bazaar; I am just sharing my visits with you. It seems to me that there is more jewellery here than the rest of the Globe put together, no joking I have never seen so much bling! From fine jewellery such as antique and priceless brooches to 5 lire (NZ$1-00) junkie bracelets; every woman could find something to suit her taste and budget I am sure. I purchased a silver dress ring from a silversmith working in a small dark workshop off the main streets and another shop in the bazaar spends all day resizing so that was a quick and efficient exercise.
epoqueis a very charming antique shop owned by an Armenian gentleman. He sells old Russian and Greek Icons as well as exquisite jewellery and watches. It was this store that had a Van Cleef and Arpels diamond and emerald brooch; absolutely spectacular. Sandal Bedesten Sokak #38, a shop with much history and a great reputation, one of my highlights.

An Antique Icon
antique icon


This emerald brooch was in its original box  from Van Cleef & Arpels.

Another store Karmen is celebrating 150 years in the bazaar next year. Jacob is the 4th generation in this family business. Shop #156 Main Street is the location, his speciality is antique diamonds but he also has objects’d art, silver and carpets. The shop fittings are as old as Balthasar, so well worth a look in this little gem..

antique store                                                                                 Jacob’s shop # 156
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Leather jackets outnumber the population, well almost! Some are beautiful, some are shoddy. I recommend Trip Advisor when shopping leather in Istanbul. Prens leather store we found excellent, I had a jacket made to measure, fits me perfectly.
Gimmicky Souvenirs

Leather jackets LMC-0443LMC-0457-Edit

Beautiful silk tops featuring the Ottoman Empire.

However Turkish leather is very good quality unlike some countries I’ve visited so even the fake products are at least well made; usually. Turkish towels are also inexpensive as are spices and numerous teas including Love Tea, Viagra and Aphrodisiac. No I didn’t try them!

On the outer edges of the Bazaar are several low lit workshops where craftsmen manufacture exquisite jewellery and where they also melt down the Gold. We saw them melting the gold and turning it into a slab, $20,000 US worth of 14 carat gold… no security, two men working in a hot little workshop, the only ventilation being the open door.



Melting down the gold!                                                                                 The finished product a slab of 14 carat gold.


Felted Fez                                                                                  Patchwork rug

It is easy to wander around aimlessly so perhaps have a pre conceived idea of what you might like to buy; scarves outnumber leather jackets – and remember to bargain, they expect it. Fake brands in abundance. T shirts, men’s belts, watches; it is all hidden amongst the corridors of the Grand Bazaar.Other very popular items are the colourful Turkish lamps, a real decor statement.


As I already mentioned the jewellery seemed to go on for ever. Diamonds and Gold in abundance, buyers a little more rare! Some jewellery pieces are cheap copies; well not so cheap actually! And some are the real thing! One needs to know your stuff before buying or have a trustworthy local to assist you.

There are not many resting places so when you do find a cafe sit and people watch, it is a wonderful way to see many tourists from many countries; people watching at its best!

So visit the Grand Bazaar more than once and try and ferret out the unique and speciality stores. Allow two hours; I actually made four visits in the week I was in Istanbul.

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Air New Zealand to Shanghai
Turkish Airlines to Istanbul


Shanghai- The excellent Les Suites Orient on the Bundt.
Istanbul – The fabulous Sophia Hagia Old Istanbul .

Restaurants so often get the small things wrong :(


10 tips for  restaurants/cafes.


Why do restaurants serve rock hard butter with fresh soft bread?? It’s impossible to spread so starts the meal on the wrong foot. Iced butter is the worst!


Why do some restaurants have loud throbbing music at dinner hour when the age group of their customers is 65 plus on average – people our age like to talk to each other!


Restaurants that ask for your credit card! Banks tell us never to part with our credit cards as these days a waiter can so easily photograph the number on their cell phone and have a shopping spree!


Restaurants that forget about you after the main course – like you are invisible –


Restaurants that charge  $16.00 a glass of wine not even 1/3 full!  Come on be reasonable! Err on the side of generosity not under it.


Wait staff that are too lazy to walk around the table  to fill water glasses and rudely lean across in front of diners.


Wait staff that clear the plates from some diners before everyone has finished eating.


Cracked and broken china is also far to frequent, and un-hygenic, should we send the food back to the kitchen?


Wait staff with no periphery vision, trying to get  their attention is like hanging on the phone to speak with the IRD! Or staff that ask how the meal is when clearly you haven’t even started eating!


Good wait staff are worth their weight in gold, treat them like royalty :):)

I really  do appreciate and support restaurants with well trained staff, many Auckland restaurants train their staff to a very high standard, amongst them the Hip Group,  others don’t seem to bother with staff  training. Your thoughts and comments welcome. 

Another good read..


Many of you will have met the 39 year old DON Tillman He’s tall, fit and intelligent, he has status and an above-average income. Don would like a wife.That was The Rosie Project!
Well in this NEW book he has a wife. The Rosie Effect catches up with Don now aged 41 and married, note I didn’t say happily married! Graeme Simsion is an Aussie writer ( born in NZ) with a natural style, a style that makes us want to keep on reading every page! Possibly a very good insight into the male physce when it comes to becoming a first time parent I haven’t finished the book yet…. Needless to say even if I had I couldn’t divulge much more.Read more

Book on Samplers – a surprisingly delightful read.

LMC-1073-Edit-2Book Cover
“Samplers Historic stitched stories
from New Zealand Women”.

Vivien Caughleys’ new book traces the history of samplers that tell our New Zealand  history.
N Z samplers date from the 1860’s, in fact some were commenced in the 1850’s.

The book excites us with samplers in the form of maps dating from 1784 that include New Zealand, and some of those now reside in the Auckland Museum collection.

This New Zealand sampler above  had the name and the girls age, 12 years, and her district,West Taieri,which enabled the family and consequently the young girl’s family to be traced 100 years later. Check out her story in this new book.
If YOU have an old sampler it may be of great value, it’s history and uniqueness is to be treasured and handed down through generations. Go and have a look in your  attic before someone throws it out as some kids embroidery!

I also discovered that he earliest known American sampler was made by Loara Standish of the Plymouth Colony about 1645.Check out the detail on her nmae link.

The earliest British dated surviving sampler, housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, was made by Jane Bostocke who included her name and the date 1598 in the inscription.A silk on linen needlework sampler stitched by 12-year-old Mary Antrim in 1807 sold at Sotheby’s Important Americana sale in New York on Sunday for $1,070,500 (including buyer’s premium). That’s ten times more than its pre-sale estimate of $80,000-$120,000.( this may not in the book -Iv’e added a few facts re the UK and the USA)  MaryAntrim-sampler
I like this quote from Vivien’s book “A sampler may be the only words of a woman which survive”.

You can contact Vivien about your historic samplers at Available at all  good bookstores, published by Batemans. Any Australian Samplers that  you own Viv would love to hear from you please.