Sara McIntyre

Observations of a Rural Nurse

Published by Massey University Press

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata (it is the people, it is the people, it is the people)[1] the crackling fireside warmth of Sara McIntyre’s’ Observations of a Rural Nurse is somewhat betrayed initially by its slightly clinical title. This 300 hundred page book is roughly sectioned by engaging introductory narrative fragments which jump out from a field of black page. Focused around a person, these snippets allow an intimate relationship to develop between the viewer and the sitter in the photograph.

Moving into a professional photographic career as a maker of books and exhibitions after the experience of placing her photographs on Instagram, Sara McIntyres’ newly published book is also haunted by an earlier publication, authored by her father Peter McIntyre and entitled Kakahi (Publisher: A. H. & A. W. Reed, 1972). Kakahi (the book, not the town of the same name) is featured in one of the outstanding images in this newly published book, of Manu behind the counter in his general store. If one didn’t know that Sara McIntyre lives and works here in Kakahi and the surrounding area and if one didn’t have her commentary and family album at the back of the book, one could be forgiven for thinking this is a romantic look at an Aotearoa that is othered through the camera’s lens. But it is most definitely not. Peppered throughout with stunning landscapes, interiors of domestic utopias, statuesque tree portraits, and rural street scenes that could only be made here in Aotearoa, this is a wonderful book precisely for its proximity. Again, I return to its blistering sense of communal tenderness, that’s the kicker really!

[1] Māori Proverb, He aha te mea nui o te ao What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata It is the people, it is the people, it is the people. link.