• Marti Friedlander

Marti Friedlander (1928-2016) was one of New Zealand’s most outstanding photographers. Her best-known portraits are probably those published in Moko: Maori Tattooing in the Twentieth Century. These portraits not only document their subjects with empathy, but also helped Friedlander, an immigrant who initially felt displaced and isolated, become more at home in New Zealand.

Friedlander made her first portraits of artists, writers and other creative people in the late 1950s. This developed into a lifelong project. She wrote, ‘As I was travelling around the country, a priority was to seek out artists. It seemed to me that artists were struggling for recognition. I resolved to photograph as many of them as I could’. The subsequent body of portraits also functions as an extraordinary visual history of cultural changes and creative flowering from the 1960s.

Her portraits reveal qualities of personality and temperament. She could catch seemingly conflictual states in the one face. Photohistorian William Main characterised Friedlander as the first photographer here ’to take up the challenge of trying to tell you something about a person through the very nature of her photographs…[her work] put New Zealand portraiture “on the map” in every sense of the word’.

Opening Hours

  • Open daily, 9.30am - 4.30pm


  • 208 Bridge Street
  • Whakatū, Nelson