Top of the Shots

One shed. Eight decades. Thousands of stories.

In a garden shed behind a family home in central New Plymouth, the most comprehensive visual record of our community’s history lay in wait. Inside the shed was the work of two commercial photography businesses, Swainson’s Studios and Bernard Woods Studio – thousands of photographic negatives that provide glimpses into the lives of the community from 1923 to 1997.

The Swainson/Woods Collection is the largest collection of its kind in New Zealand. Spanning eight decades, it features photographs of individuals and families, weddings, anniversaries, sports teams and clubs. It contains images of local businesses, community events and candid photographs of social events. Together, the studios have captured the significant moments of those who have lived in the Taranaki area, recording generations of faces, places and key events.

To complement this exhibition we have some cool activities for adults and children alike – we hope you can come in and enjoy Top of the Shots.


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