After getting sick of the rat race in Auckland photographer Brendan Kitto and his partner chose to move to Whanganui where he had spent a month last year as the artist in residence at the Glasgow St Art Centre.
He talks to Jacob McSweeny about his indulgent spending habit, why he spent time in Whanganui as a kid and who his photography idols are.
Where are you from?
I was born in Wellington. I moved to Whanganui, my dad was in the wool industry. From there to Auckland and now back again. Dad was a wool buyer and exporter. We moved here and basically in the school holidays I went to all the farms with him. He had an office just off Heads Rd.
Why have you moved here?
I moved back with my partner. I've always wanted to move out of Auckland. We wanted somewhere we both enjoyed. I did an artists' residency for a month last year in October and my partner came down for the last few weeks.
What do you like most about living in Whanganui?
Not sitting in a car for long amounts of time. And when you're in a car you're actually moving, you're going somewhere.
I was talking to a friend today saying "you can drive an hour to Palmerston [North], and you've been through three other towns, stopped in other places".
Whereas in Auckland you've gone from your house, a couple of kilometres and a lot of rage.
Are you renting or have you bought?
Homeowner. So, yeah. Another reason for coming down.
How did you decide what area you wanted to live, did you know the areas well?
Not on this side of the river (Whanganui East). I grew up on St John's Hill so I knew about there. But, everyone else has the same idea to move here so it wasn't as easy and straightforward as we were hoping it to be.
Didn't really decide on an area, it was what we saw and liked.
What has surprised you about Whanganui?
We came back 10 years ago and we were like "ooh, what happened?"
It didn't seem very lively from how I remembered it as a kid. Just by talking to other people, they've said the same thing: a lot of industry moved out so a lot of people moved ... just one of those patches of change.
So the change from then to now is quite different. The town's more lively. There's a lot more things that have opened up entertainment-wise.
What do you do for a day out in Whanganui?
We walk. It's nice and flat here. Go across the bridge, walk along the riverfront through the town and then come back along the other side through the park.
How would you describe your photography?
I guess it's documentary style about New Zealand. Just being overseas regularly and then coming home is always interesting. We're quite slow to change in New Zealand. You can drive past the same thing for many years and it just won't change.
Is there something you miss from Auckland, a bigger city, now that you're living in Whanganui?
It would just be friends. Anything else, it's here. A lot of other things were distractions living there. Just being close to friends would be the thing.
If you could invite any three people to dinner, who would they be?
Don McCullin, war photographer. Martin Parr, they'll all be photographers. I guess Laurence Aberhart. He's a New Zealand photographer. He's done quite a bit of work down here. I haven't met him, so I'd like to meet him.
What is an indulgent thing you like to do?
Spending money on cameras. Buying relics of the past.