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Cryosphere is a photographic exhibition by Jonathan Kay that contemplates the fragility of our landscapes through the surveying of two Te Waipounamu glaciers; Haupapa/Tasman and Te Moeka o Tūawe/Fox.

I am exploring these glaciers as a way of making sense of the environments in Aotearoa impacted by climate change. The glaciers are a vast and ancient ecosystem that make visible the perilous effects of a warming climate.

Over five years and several visits, I have spent time on the glaciers, observed the lakes and icebergs that carve off during melting, and followed the streams and rivers that connect this water system.

These works play with the conventions of landscape imagery — the intensely coloured fabrics of the cyanotypes utilise an early cameraless photographic technology to capture the physicality and chemistry of the ice and water, while the black and white photographs eschew the spectacular, attempting instead to draw our attention more intimately to the forms, structures, and details of glacial terrains.

An essay by Dr Barbara Garrie, Senior Lecturer Canterbury University, accompanies the exhibition – download it here.


2022 Cryosphere (solo show), Jhana Millers Gallery, Wellington 24 Mar - 21 Apr 

2012 Cryosphere (solo show), Ashburton Art Gallery, Ashburton 5 Feb - 6 Mar

Copyright Jonathan Kay
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