Fiona Pardington is at the forefront of New Zealand's current generation of fine art photographers. Much has been written about her use of "pure" analogue darkroom techniques such as hand printing and toning so it was a revelation to hear the following excerpt from her interview with Kim Hill on National Radio's "Saturday Morning with Kim Hill Show" on Saturday.
Kim Hill asks, "A couple of technical questions, what's Hahnemule cotton rag paper?"
Fiona Pardington: "It's a beautiful, you know if I was a watercolourist or someone like [NZ Painter] John Reynolds I'd be using that."
Kim Hill: "What is it?"
Fiona Pardington: "It's this lovely rag paper, it's just a paper a big thick chunky beautiful watercolourly looking paper and it's archival and, ahhh, inkiets great. It's for me, I kind of treat it like its a kind of historical photolithography process."
Kim Hill: "And is this what you are using?"
Fiona Pardington: "Yes, I have sold my soul to the digital world. "
Kim Hill: "...and you are using inkjet on cotton rag paper?"
Fiona Pardington: "Yes, it's sexy, I am. It is beautiful."
Kim Hill: "…and would I, if I knew about these things, would I look at your photographs and say yes, they are made by inkjet prints?"
Fiona Pardington: "No, well actually a few people haven't really known how I'd done it."
Kim Hill: "So what difference does it make?"
Fiona Pardington: "So it ranges, to me its a kind of… when you can find a new material that extends your practice and takes all of the qualities that you have had with them but they are transformed through another substance in a new unique way that has your aesthetic integrity intact in that transformation - that's when you move materials and for me I'm just like a pig in mud, it's so exciting. It has allowed me to think and see differently and to experience a lot of the qualities and talents that I have in a new and more powerful way."
With one of New Zealand's leading contemporary photographers in both the academic and artistic worlds embracing the new world of digital printing as not only preserving her artistic integrity but also being so excited with the possibilities that she is like a "pig in mud" we think that serious collectors of New Zealand photography can embrace digital editions by photographers like Craig Potton with total confidence.