Robin Morrison

Fred and Myrtle Flutey's paua shell parlour, Bluff

Fred and Myrtle Flutey's paua shell parlour, Bluff by Robin Morrison

Artwork Detail

Robin Morrison's 26-year career as an independent photo-journalist reinforced the significance that photography has had on the cultural imagination of New Zealanders. In many published books and articles he represented his chosen subjects using intense effects of colour and available light. Although he was known principally as a result of his passionate studies of rural areas, he was a sophisticated observer of city life. A humanist with an immediate empathy for other people, Morrison had a charm and humour that made him welcome inside the homes of others. Fred and Myrtle Flutey's päua shell parlour, Bluff is a much-loved icon of New Zealand photography; the Fluteys have become national figures since Morrison published their portrait and have starred in documentaries and product promotions. Their home is a place of pilgrimage for visitors to Bluff, and has become one of the most photographed houses in the nation. The parlour is 'wall-papered' with the polished shells of päua which were gathered in the straits between Bluff and Rakiura (Stewart Island). Their environment is a folk art masterpiece and Mr Flutey's overalls indicate that the room has been a labour of love for a very handy working man. Robin Morrison's popularity stems in part from the viewing public's recognition that the 'characters' he portrayed are the same figures that New Zealanders recognise to be within the ambit of 'the Kiwi bloke'. (from The Guide, 2001)

Fred and Myrtle Flutey's paua shell parlour, Bluff
Robin Morrison
Production date
266 x 399 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1983
Accession no
Other ID
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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