In early 2002 I started work on a project to document the Wellington “Inner City Bypass”. At the time this meant primarily photographing the anti-bypass movement, as they were really the only public face involved in the bypass.
Having previously photographed the Brass Razoo Solidarity Band, and being inspired by their political involvement, when I started shooting the anti-bypass movement I started thinking about the possibilities for a much larger documentary series looking at activists, lobby groups, and social/political movements. I was interested in examining the many facets of these groups, from public demonstrations and marches to the behind the scenes meetings and lobbying.
The Wellington Anti-Bypass Movement was going to be my first group for this planned (and subsequently abandoned) series which I had titled “Reasonable Voices”. For numerous reasons, I didn’t follow through with this project, but it did lead on to this exploration of the bypass.
This photographic project, which started in a flurry, has since been rather haphazard and random. Prior to construction I approached Fulton Hogan - the company contracted by Transit NZ to complete the bypass - in the hopes of being able to gain on-going access to the entire construction site – from the inside. As I was just wanting to document the construction and had no specific end goal in mind for the images Fulton Hogan were, understandably though disappointingly, unwilling to grant me the access I wanted.
Regardless of this I felt it was important to continue with the work as this roading project is an important part of Wellington’s history.. My intention was always to document the process in as close to a subjective way as I could. I didn’t want my viewpoint to get in the way of producing images.
With the beginning of construction, the voices of dissent quietened. There were less big demonstrations, and the smaller ones eventually ran their course. These images reflect the move from public objection to acceptance of the works being carried out, and became more about the on-going development.
What follows are the images I have made over the past five years. Using William Eggleston’s “Democratic Forest” philosophy I have included everything shot. The main reasons for this are that this is a forum that does not require intense editing - people can come and go as they please, over as long a period of time as they please - and the more images, the fuller the story I can tell.
Currently the images end in December 2006, just prior to the northbound lanes being open for traffic. This doesn’t mean the project has finished. I will be out there again taking photos as the changes continue.
LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION
Campaign for a Better City
(from CBC spokeperson - CBC was declared bankrupt and wound up in 2004 after taking two High Court cases and losing both. So the CBC website is largely an archival site at present.)
18 July 2002