“For the Love of Farming” – Celebrating Farming in New Zealand” by Alan Gibson. Published by Exile Publishing. Price $59.99. Reviewed by Tony Orman
Alan Gibson has been a photo-journalist for Auckland’s “New Zealand Herald”, a job which he revelled in. Frequently it took him into the rural heartland – a return to the environment he grew up on in the Waikato. His newspaper job took him on assignments to a variety of place from high country stations, to aquaculture, horse studs, deer, dairying and other pastoral farming styles, orchards, vineyards poultry farms, apiarists and others. All feature in this book.
I was interested in the Deer Farming chapter and in introducing the subject, a jarring note occurred with the description of wild deer having “wreaked havoc in native forest, on pastures as well as affecting young exotic trees in plantation forests.” The truth is the country’s native forests can carry deer browsing vegetation within the habitat’s carrying capacity. After all for some 60 million years, several species of moa browsed vegetation from lowland forest to scrublands to subalpine pastures. It is now well documented that deer browse is “not dissimilar” to moa browse as one scientist put it.
But that’s just one page and arguably a small point to cavil over.
The book largely features the many excellent photographs Alan captured but there’s “fat captions” to photos and interviews that give a nice balance of the visual and written. Marlborough features with a portrayal of a vineyard and mussel farm. Alan Gibson has been awarded “NZ Press Photographer of the Year title -junior and senior, six times. It is an impressive book.