The 2022 Big Dutch Day Out featured an exhibition of photographer Ans Westra's fascinating glimpses into New Zealand life. Her impact on New Zealand photography and society is far too detailed to do justice in this short description- but it is reasonable to say that she was one of this country's greatest photographers and arriving from the Netherlands as a young women gave her the perspective behind many of her finest works.
Ans Westra was a guest of honour on the day and was part of the line of dignitaries including Members of Parliament and the Race Relations Commissioner who posed for a photograph by the De Molen windmill. Two lines formed- the dignitaries and the people taking a photograph of them.
Local photographer Jacob Brookie was there using a 1950s Yashica 'A' camera from the MAVtech Museum. He noticed the lines forming and thought that this was far more interesting than a front-on photo of notables. He also noticed that Ans Westra (seated in this picture) was taking a photo of the people taking a photo- placing her in both groups at once!
Ans Westra famously used a Rolleiflex camera for much of her life and the Yashica A had a similar styling. She mentioned to Jacob that the digital camera she was using that day had a folding screen so she could compose pictures 'waist level' like Rolleiflex if she wanted to.
Ans Westra passed away on the 26th of February, 2023.