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Photography Focus: Simon Devitt's Portrait of a House

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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.

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  Photograph from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House of Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand.  Photo by: Simon Devitt
    Photograph from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House of Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand.

    Photo by: Simon Devitt

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    Photo by: Simon Devitt

    Photo by: Simon Devitt

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  Photograph from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House of Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand.  Photo by: Simon Devitt
    Photograph from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House of Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand.

    Photo by: Simon Devitt

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  Photograph from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House of Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand.  Photo by: Simon Devitt
    Photograph from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House of Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand.

    Photo by: Simon Devitt

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  Photograph of dinner party guest and exterior of Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House .  Photo by: Simon Devitt
    Photograph of dinner party guest and exterior of Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House .

    Photo by: Simon Devitt

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  Photograph of interior of the kitchen detail of Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House.  Photo by: Simon Devitt
    Photograph of interior of the kitchen detail of Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House.

    Photo by: Simon Devitt

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  Photograph of interior fireplace setting of Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House.  Photo by: Simon Devitt
    Photograph of interior fireplace setting of Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House.

    Photo by: Simon Devitt

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  Local preparing a meal for one of the many bohemian dinner parties that take place at Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House.  Photo by: Simon Devitt
    Local preparing a meal for one of the many bohemian dinner parties that take place at Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House.

    Photo by: Simon Devitt

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  Archival photographs of entertainment life at Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House.  Photo by: Simon Devitt
    Archival photographs of entertainment life at Athfield House in Wellington, New Zealand from Simon Devitt's new book Portrait of a House.

    Photo by: Simon Devitt

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