The Auckland Festival of Photography ploughs vigorously on. Some artists choose a subject, then photograph it unaltered; other artists change their images through a variety of modern processes.

Harvey Benge, whose work is at the Bath Street Gallery, is a photographer who goes about the world recording what his alert and trained eye sees. Usually his work is published in books but for the festival the gallery is showing a large frieze originally commissioned by Dunedin Art Gallery.

This spectacular work, which occupies one long wall, is made of 240 A3-sized digital prints with few repetitions. In his travels the artist has spotted many things often paradoxically juxtaposed. Bikes and rubbish, a luxurious swimming pool and mountains beyond, a single cloud in a blue sky, airports, an advertisement for a porn theatre, crowds at the Louvre, sex shops and soap. It shows the variety of the world from sleaze to domesticity and it is held together by bright tones of red as accents. One of the most attractive photographs is simply colourful plastic pegs on a lawn strewn with autumn leaves. Certainly the effect of this huge endeavour is greater than the sum of its parts. The show is accompanied by bigger photographs which seem much more conventional by comparison although each has a small, disturbing quirk. Sculptural plaster of Paris hands are rendered strange by the layer of dust on them and a tidy image of a blond woman viewed from behind is given a little spin in the oblique glimpse of a piercing through her lower lip.

International Photography at the Gow Langsford Gallery features notable photographers, some of whom strive to enhance their basic images. Here it is not just a matter of eye but also a question of conception.

Three photographs by Kim Joon show naked women in close embrace with their bodies apparently tattooed in ways that emphasise the hills and valleys of the form. The print of Blue Fish 3 is carefully deciphered in an intricate arrangement of four bodies. All have complicated patterns in blue which look like tattoos but on close inspection show slight relief - impossible in tattoo. The effect is intricate and spectacular and says a lot about form and pattern.

Another work by the same artist called Duet Pig has figures marked with a repetition of a comic pig with a flail. There is a sense of aggression in this work, emphasised by the way the markings appear to be incised or branded into the figures.

Thinking as well as recording is also apparent in the direct frontal photographs of Michael Wolf in Architecture of Density and Night. These are images of labyrinthine apartment blocks in Hong Kong. Although he is photographing 40 storeys of building he contrives to show neither ground nor sky, just the endless repetition of windows and balconies. It is a comment on how humans live. Anthony Goicolea, who has shown in Auckland before, previously depicted groups of young boys in such a way that they look menacing. Here, in his remarkable work Deconstruction, he has focused on a wrecked building, its escalator hanging loose amid rubble and twisted iron with rooms laid bare in a way that recalls a war zone. If you look carefully, you can see people in hammocks slung amid the damage and you get a sense that life may go on, even in a bizarrely relaxed way, in the middle of demolition and wreckage.

His other work Sky Lift shows skyrides like the chariots of the gods above a misty landscape with a line of workers trudging up a hill. The feeling with the mist, the illogicality and the contrast between gods in sky gondolas and dark workers in a world below is almost Wagnerian.

The computer manipulation of images continues at the Satellite Gallery in a show called Nippon where Mark L. Watts has put his face, goatee and all, on a variety of stereotypical heroes of Japanese life exemplified in dolls and toys. When his head is on a female doll there is a note of humour not seen elsewhere in the festival.

We are back to direct photography in a fascinating exhibition called Artificialia, Naturalia & Mirabilia at Artstation. Four photographers have brought together images of a variety of museum exhibits. Julie Downie takes zoological display cabinets and curiosities and dignifies them with a heavy frame. Faye Norman photographs a mixture of real and artificial flowers which are hard to tell apart. Heyes Johnson seeks out private collections that range from a toy museum through to a collection of dolls, mannequins and hats accurately photographed so we can participate in the decision about which hat was put on which artificial head. The audience joins in the delight of the matching as well as enjoying the material itself.

Haruhiko Sameshima seeks out anatomical displays from Hokitika to the French National Museum of Natural History. He has made a wonderful print of animal skeletons led by an ecorche with an arm raised summoning the bones onwards and upwards. It is a marvellous choice fully supported by the delicate tones of the superb print quality. It may be the best photograph in the whole festival.

The ultimate in conceptual processing appears in a group show at Ivan Anthony where there are two inkjet prints by Richard Killeen. There is only one copy of each of these prints done on canvas. This brings them to some area between photography and painting because all the images are computer generated. They are astonishing in their complexity and detail. Engine depicts a strange figure driving a machine through a confused and complex world and Crucifixion shows a transfixed figure surrounded by images of sacrifice. These are impressive products of an extraordinary art form.

At the galleries
What: Big Work Small Work, by Harvey Benge
Where and when: Bath Street Gallery, 43 Bath St, Parnell, to June 17
TJ says: One work made up of 240 images from all over the world takes up an entire wall and the show is completed by single, larger images, separately framed.

What: International Photography
Where and when: Gow Langsford Gallery, 26 Lorne St, to June 20
TJ says: A variety of work by overseas artists. Big prints reflect the assurance and clear sense of purpose in their work.

What: To Be a Hero of Nippon, by Mark L. Watts
Where and when: Satellite Gallery, cnr St Benedict St-Newton Rd, to June 13
TJ says: A lively, humorous show where the artist's own face decorates a variety of stereotypical Japanese heroes.

What: Artificialia, Naturalia & Mirabilia, by Julie Downie, Haruhiko Sameshima, Faye Norman & Heyes Johnson
Where and when: Artstation, 1 Ponsonby Rd, to June 20
TJ says: A small, remarkable exhibition that concentrates on photographs of museum exhibits which are rich and strange.

What: Feelings - a group show
Where and when: Ivan Anthony Gallery, 312 Karangahape Rd, to July 1
TJ says: In a show that has paintings and photographs, Killeen's powerful work has elements of both, combined with computer power.