New Zealand photographer Simon Devitt has been capturing homes and homeowners in for close to fifteen years. His new book, Portrait of a House, collaborates with graphic designer Arch MacDonnell of Inhouse Design. Portrait of a House is a photo album of the Athfield House or "The Village on the Hill" known by Wellington, New Zealand locals. The Athfield House is an architectural experiment started by Ian Athfield in 1965 on the Khandallah hillside in Wellington. It's quite reminiscent of the Mos Eisley Cantina on the planet Tattooine, in Star Wars, Episode IV.
The idea for this photo book came from Devitt's inspiration from other shelter photo books such as Robin Morrison's 1978 book Images of a House. "A house is a pretty refined subject to make a book about," explains Devitt. "It is not market driven, it is content driven and born out of passion. Life has happened there like in no other house, and the ‘living’ leaves its evidence, time has played out on its surface. There is a lot to be said about sitting still and how that looks. The Athfield house is a wonderful example of this. An accessible counterpoint to a largely asset based living that pervades New Zealand.”
The "living" Devitt refers to is the extensive colorful dinner parties with it's well-known local bohemians (as seen in our slideshow) & the mass livestock that roam the property.
Simon Devitt is the recent recipient of the New Zealand Architecture Awards' Presidential citation for photography. He also has a lecture in Photography of Architecture at the University of Auckland.