Duncan Winder: architectural photographer
In 1960s New Zealand, Duncan Winder (1919-1970) transitioned from architect to architectural photographer. With his architectural eye, Winder produced distinctive and seminal images of New Zealand post-war architecture and these images have an enduring relevance today. Despite this significant contribution to local architectural culture, contemporary knowledge of Winder’s legacy and output has remained limited. This research sought to raise awareness of his life and work. To contextualise Winder’s work, a framework for image analysis was developed which drew on the visual languages of two architectural movements which were prominent during Winder’s period of practice, Townscape and New Brutalism. In addition, a visual survey of New Zealand architectural photography from 1930 to 1970 was undertaken. This enabled contextualisation of Winder’s photography with the work of other local photographers operating at the time. From the analysis, it is clear that Winder’s photography shows aspects of both Townscape and New Brutalism, in terms of its compositional approach. This is not only interesting for the fact that these movements have historically been seen as oppositional, but because it exposes some of the ways in which their visual languages were related. The analysis also highlighted the 1960s as a particularly healthy decade for the production of New Zealand architectural photography. This was demonstrated through the progressive improvement in the quality of published architectural photography and the increase in number of architectural photographers practicing locally. It is positive that in recent years Winder’s archive of photographs has been digitised and made publicly accessible, and that digitisation has enabled this research to provide original and thorough commentary on Winder’s photography. The research has identified distinctive and memorable qualities of Winder’s style, including his compositional use of thirds, his off-centre perspectives, and his attentiveness to tone and materiality. In this way, the research has provided appropriate ways to understand and value Winder’s photography, and appreciate his significant contribution to New Zealand’s architectural culture and history.