Katherine White, aged 71, was amazed to walk into Auckland's central library and see a large photograph of herself as a teenager.

Dressed for town In a floral frock, cardigan slung about her shoulders and holding a handbag, White, aged 14 or 15, was pictured in Queen St with two other teenage girls.

The image was part of a library exhibition of work by the late John Rykenberg, an Auckland "street photographer" who shot candid pictures of people in public places.

Katherine White (left), Carol Priddle (nee Woodbury, right) and an unidentified teenager in Queen St, Auckland, 1960. Photo / John Rykenberg, Sir George Grey Collections, Auckland Libraries
Katherine White (left), Carol Priddle (nee Woodbury, right) and an unidentified teenager in Queen St, Auckland, 1960. Photo / John Rykenberg, Sir George Grey Collections, Auckland Libraries
Katherine White, 71, identified herself as a teenager in the 1960 Rykenberg photo. Photo / Dough Sherring
Katherine White, 71, identified herself as a teenager in the 1960 Rykenberg photo. Photo / Dough Sherring

"I looked at it and thought hmm, she's vaguely familiar. I went into the library and looked at it. They had these huge pictures in there. I realised then that it was me.

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"I was stunned."

She told an organiser of the exhibition.

"She gave me the email of the other person on the righthand side. I got in touch with her and I discovered we both went to Kelston Girls' [High School] together."

White said she would like to meet Priddle if the opportunity arises.

Carol Priddle recognised herself in the exhibition image when she saw it online. Photo / supplied
Carol Priddle recognised herself in the exhibition image when she saw it online. Photo / supplied

Priddle, whose surname was Woodbury before she married, saw the picture on a Facebook history page.

"I thought to myself, I'm sure that's me and I showed my husband, Glynn. He said, 'Oh it's you'.

But neither Priddle nor White recognise girl in the centre of the picture. Nor can they recall the picture being taken.

"Her face is familiar but I couldn't tell you what her name was," said White. "It was such a long time ago."

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"I remember the dress, I remember the handbag and I remember the watch I had on.

"It looks like we were just out shopping. In those days it was a big deal to go into Queen St on a Friday after school," said White, who lived in Glen Eden at the time and would catch the bus into town.

She liked shoe shops, "and going for coffee was quite fun".

White trained at the Green Lane and Carrington hospitals to become a registered nurse. "I did a variety of things, mostly mental health. I worked in prisons, court liaison, the Mason Clinic, and as a psychiatric district nurse."

Priddle has lived in Britain and Australia and is expecting her first grandchild.

A library spokeswoman said that 24 people have been identified from the 17 images in the exhibition.

One viewer - White - made the identification at the exhibition in the library; the rest were made through Facebook.

Rykenberg shifted from the Netherlands to New Zealand in the 1950s and established a successful photography business in Auckland. He took pictures on streets, in restaurants and on the wharves as well as shooting weddings and other social events.

"Auckland Libraries has the first instalments of a collection of over 1 million images by Rykenberg Photography. Most of the people in the photographs are unidentified," the spokeswoman said.

More than 7000 of the Rykenberg images have been digitised and are accessible on the library's online database.