As one of Aotearoa’s most knowledgeable and experienced photographic historians, Lissa Mitchell turned her attention to the early women photographers in this country in a new publication Through Shaded Glass – Women and Photography in Aotearoa New Zealand 1860-1970 (Te Papa Press). Her research for the book represents a significant milestone in foregrounding the involvement and photographic work of over 190 women makers of photography in Aotearoa prior to 1960. She spent years locating names, photographs and researching lives while exploring photographic practise where women have made strong contributions but have been sidelined or overlooked in this country’s photographic histories to date. These include collaborative working practises, photographers and the Second World War in New Zealand, non-binary practises, and the involvement of Māori women in making early photography here.

In this engaging lecture, Lissa will talk about many of the women and give visibility to examples of their work.

Learn more about the publication and purchase a copy here.

Lissa Mitchell is curator of historical photography at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. She has held previous roles in photographic collection management and preventive photographic conservation at The New Zealand Film Archive (now part of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision) and the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa. She has a degree in art history from Victoria University of Wellington Te Herenga Waka and has written about photography for several books: An Alternative History of Photography (Prestel, 2022), New Zealand Art at Te Papa (Te Papa Press, 2018), and websites such as: The Public Domain Review (UK) and New Zealand on Screen Iwi Whitiāhua. She is a recipient of a Historical Photographic Research Award from the Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund (USA) and a History Award from the New Zealand History Research Trust Fund.

Lecture presented by the Friends of the Art Gallery courtesy of the Estate of the late Julie King. Art historian Julie King was Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Canterbury and an Honorary Life Member and Patron of the Friends.


  • Free entry


  • Sun 29 Oct


  • 2:00 pm — 3:00 pm


  • Montreal Street
  • Ōtautahi Christchurch, 8140