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Historic Maori Photographs

Pulman Portrait collage

Pulman Pocket Portraits

My artist’s book titled Pulman Pocket Portraits is featured this year in an exhibition titled Art of the Fold at various venues around Denver Colorado It is currently on show from June until August at Dayton Memorial Library, Regis University, USA.

These historic photographs were treasured by my father’s family for many generations. They were bound with 40 other glass plate negative prints in a musty, foxed leather album. They show Maori people from all walks of life in the 1880’s and have been attributed to New Zealand’s first known woman photographer, Elizabeth Pulman.


I chose Hedi Kyle’s elegant pocket accordion structure to bring these images back into the light and in to the world.

Records show Pulman held a deep respect for the people and their culture and that she was one of the few outsiders welcomed into the North Island tribes. As Elizabeth Pulman photographed the beautiful women shown here, I wonder what they saw as she set up the shots and dressed them in studio props.

The Pulman Studio was sold to the New Zealand Government Tourist Bureau in 1900, shortly before Elizabeth’s death at the age of 63. The studio’s legacy of many historic scenes and portraits (including our family’s treasured album) are now held mainly in museums and public library collections in New Zealand.


The Art of the Fold is an international exhibition of artists’ bookworks created using structures developed by Hedi Kyle and found in the recent publication The Art of the Fold by Hedi Kyle and Ulla Warchol. The exhibition, curated by Alicia Bailey includes 45 works created by 38 artists, working in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Luckily for me, a copy of Pulman Pocket Portraits was purchased by the University of Rochester NY for their collection!

Pulman Pocket Portraits by Marama Warren

© 2018
edition of 12
dimensions in inches: 5.5 x 2.5 x .5

One comment on “Historic Maori Photographs

  1. greengaze
    June 23, 2019

    What a beautiful book that weaves a very special story.

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