Things to do  |  6 Jul 2021

The changing faces of everyday Cantabrians will be on display in a new exhibition of images from New Zealand’s longest-running photography studio, Standish and Preece.

Standish and Preece: Christchurch Photographers 1885–2020 showcases a selection of the 75,000 images in Canterbury Museum’s collection that were captured by the studio.

During the Level 4 lockdown last year, the Museum put 32,000 of the Standish and Preece images onto its Collections Online website, calling on the public to help identify the many people and places in the collection. Since then, more than 2800 comments have been left online.

A further 43,000 images went live on the website this week.

One of the comments in 2020 was from Catherine Komarova (née Scott), who spotted a portrait of herself , pictured above, taken at the Villa Maria school ball in 1984.

Thanks to her comment, the Museum was able to contact Catherine and her photo will be on display in the exhibition alongside her lace and taffeta ball gown.

Exhibition curator Dr Jill Haley says the Standish and Preece photos document important moments in the lives of Cantabrians and include wedding photos, sports teams, family portraits, school photos, kapa haka groups, graduation photos and more.

“People use photography to remember important moments in their lives. When you put a whole lot of photos together like this, you really get a sense of how society has developed.

“Visitors to the exhibition will be able to search for family and friends among the displayed photos and see fashion trends develop, demographics change and Christchurch itself develop and grow.”

The Museum began a three-year project to scan and catalogue all 75,000 Standish and Preece negatives in the collection in 2019. This work was funded by the Lottery Grants Board and from a bequest by former Honorary Museum Curator, Rose Reynolds.

Standish and Preece: Christchurch Photographers 1885–2020 opens on 9 July and will run until February 2022.