Simon Devitt’s PORTRAIT OF A HOUSE is now part of the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive


Title: Portrait of a House

Photographer: Simon Devitt

Date of publication: 2013

Place of publication: New Zealand

Language: English

Dimensions of book: 213x318mm

Edition size: 1000

Number of pages: 140

Number of images: 69

Cover, Type of binding: Cardboard casing, thread sewn binding

Type of printing: Offset

Type of paper: uncoatedmatte

Printer: Everbest Printing Co.

Publisher:  Simon Devitt / Balasoglou Books

Publication designer: Inhouse design

Publication editor: Simon Devitt

ISBN: 978-0-987-659507

Retail price: NZ $90

Summary: Portrait of a House is a photo book by photographer Simon Devitt in collaboration with graphic designer Arch MacDonnell (Inhouse Design). This is Devitt’s first foray in the photo book genre. His book explores the Athfield House – the ‘village on the hill’ – an architectural experiment that Ian Athfield started in 1965 on the Khandallah hillside in Wellington, and which he is still altering and extending today.

The idea for the book came from Devitt’s admiration of Robin Morrison’s work and in particular Morrison’s 1978 photo book Images of a House about a William Gummer-designed house built in 1916. “A house is a pretty refined subject to make a book about,” explains Devitt. “It is not market driven, it is content driven and born out of passion. Life has happened there like in no other house, and the ‘living’ leaves its evidence, time has played out on its surface. There is a lot to be said about sitting still and how that looks. The Athfield house is a wonderful example of this. An accessible counterpoint to a largely asset based living that pervades New Zealand.”