Ferries on the Waitematā - a modern perspective

Thursday, September 17, 2015
Harbour Bridge - Silena Griffin

As part of our current “Ferries on the Waitematā” exhibition (on until 4 October), we commissioned Silena Griffin, a 3rd year photography student enrolled at the Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland, to explore the experience of ferry passengers sailing on the Waitematā Harbour in 2015. With support from Fullers, Silena travelled around the harbour and in this blog, she tells us about her work and inspiration:

"My photography work currently features in the Edmiston Gallery within the Museum. In addition to the ferry photographs, I have also been doing some work for 'Waterfront Auckland'.

Everyone that makes a ferry journey has a unique experience. For some, the photographs in the exhibition revive memories of their own ferry trips and for others, the photos capture the sense of what being on the water is like.

I document what is before me without staging or direction. Captured in the manner of a ‘holiday snapshot’, the ferry photographs have been arranged in grids on the gallery walls. There is no one story or hierarchy; each photograph in a grid is of equal importance, so the viewer is able to scan and select elements creating his or her own narrative.

Installation shot in Edmiston Gallery, New Zealand Maritime Museum

Auckland is a tourist location and there are many people using cameras, cell phones etc. In a sense, I am just one of many photographing events, people and the environment to document a personal experience.

My work is influenced by the artist, Taryn Simon, whose presentation method connects identity, lineage, history and memory, incorporating both the past and present. I’m also interested in the movement “Mass Observation”, founded in 1937, which sought to gain a deeper understanding of everyday life in the United Kingdom.

The images taken on ferry sailings capture a sense of movement and also acknowledge the passing of time. Taken throughout the day – from early morning through into the evening, the light differs with each journey.


Working on ferries and around the waterfront has inspired me to think about how I am able to contribute to historical archives. The photographs also enable me to share a ‘living’ insight into peoples’ lives and environment."

“Ferries on the Waitematā” exhibition runs in our Edmiston Gallery until 4 October, 2015.