Island Bay, Wellington was used for the cover image on the Winter 1975 issue of the literary periodical Islands, accompanying Duggan's last and posthumously published story 'Magsman Miscellany,' which both is and is not a self-portrait. Two weatherboard houses abut at an odd angle. The gap between them and the sharply receding diagonals, produce a vortex-like perspective. In the right foreground there is a letterbox with a narrow rectangular slot, which looks almost animate: a blank face staring back. Could this also be a metaphoric face of New Zealand suburbia, so often stereotyped as bland, boring, featureless?
Christ, Len Bell writes a load of bollocks. This is from Marti Friedlander; Auckland University Press, 2009.
In any case, why ask these ridiculous questions? Why not just ask the photographer? It is not as if she were dead five centuries. Go on, Len, call her:
"Marti, did you mean that letterbox in the Duggan photograph to be a metaphoric face of New Zealand suburbia?
Marti, are you there?"
And what on earth is a vortex-like perspective? You can see the photo here and decide for yourself, if you must. And then you could ask yourself, how is it that art historians do not know the first thing about architecture but persist in talking about it?
Pic unrelated, of course. Here are the Neo-Kalashnikovs, exploring New Zealand domestic architecture. It both is and is not a self-portrait: