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New gallery realising a dream



geoff and chris mason copy-349The Mason Gallery, located above the cafe at Bennetts of Mangawhai, is a new venture conceived by Mt Maunganui photographer Geoff Mason and his wife Christine.

The gallery has been open intermittently in a preview mode until its official opening last Saturday. It will continue to be open most weekends for viewing and sales.

Geoff Mason has been a full-time photographer for over 40 years, starting as an apprentice to a commercial photographer in Wellington in 1970 and eventually forming his own studio working for fledgling advertising agencies.

He found adventure in photojournalism on an early 70’s trip to Bali and Java, trips to China’s far regions in the 80’s, developed a great passion for the New Zealand landscape on many surfing and skiing trips, and while escorting Americans on photo safari workshops around the country.

Geoff tutored photography with graphic design and photography students at the then Wellington Polytechnic before working as a stills photographer on New Zealand movies Lost Tribe and Ruby and Rata.

Geoff also worked with editorial clients such as National and NZ Geographic on worldwide assignments, before a return to advertising and commercial photography.

Auckland traffic forced a move to Mt Maunganui before a dream assignment photographing world heritage sites saw the couple travelling the world for a year.

Back home, Chris and Geoff purchased a caravan at the Hideaway Holiday Park in Mangawhai, visiting during holidays with their family and granddaughters, who developed a taste for Bennett’s famous chocolates.

Although a perfect location for the gallery, distance from Mt Maunganui was a difficulty. But throwing caution to the wind, a long-held dream to enable a sharing and sale of some of Geoff’s large archive of photography began.

The Our Place Project has allowed Geoff access to his work from their archive, and many of these images, enhanced by Geoff’s special digital imaging techniques, and presented as large canvas art, form the basis of the hand picked collection of work by other New Zealand and overseas artists.

Chris as gallery director, and Geoff are determined to help young emerging artists that show talent.

They are excited to join the growing arts circuit that the region is developing, and believe that along with Matakana, and now the proposed Hundertwasser art centre planned for Whangarei, that the region will continue to grow and be renowned as a destination for lovers and collectors of art.

NEW PROJECT: Geoff and Chris Mason at their new gallery. They aim to showcase Geoff’s extensive archive along with handpicked work from other artists.

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