Haruhiko Sameshima


NameHaruhiko Sameshima (he/him)
Also known asHaru Sameshima, 鮫島治彦
Country of BirthJapan
Place of ResidenceTāmaki Makaurau Auckland
ArtformVisual arts
Decades Active1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s


Haruhiko ‘Haru’ Sameshima is a photographic artist and publisher. He is one of New Zealand’s preeminent practitioners of large-format photography. Sameshima’s images often investigate histories of New Zealand landscape photography, making reference to iconic locations and the touristic economies they represent.

Although often depicting external scenes on a grand scale where the quotidian relates to the natural environment, the subjects of his photographs vary. Ranging from sweeping vistas foregrounded by empty parking lots to museum displays of taxidermy birds to suburban topiaries to shopping mall interiors and outdoor advertising, all subjects are ‘fair game’. Sameshima describes his images functioning ‘as individual elements in a kind of image library’, which he likens to the collecting impulse of Walter Benjamin’s always unfinished opus, the Arcades Project.

Born in Shizuoka, Japan, Sameshima moved to Aotearoa as a 14-year-old in 1973, initially arriving with his father, who returned to bring over his mother and three younger siblings four months later. Sameshima’s artistic practice spans over four decades, and recurring themes trace back to his earliest experiences of Aotearoa through images — photographs, scenic publications and picture postcards brought back by his father of their soon-to-be new home. In 2009 Sameshima published Bold Centuries: A Photographic History Album. In the book's preface, Sameshima clearly articulates his intentions: “I am interested in photographing places where culture is presented to people, and creating some kind of record of how this transaction takes place.”

In his ongoing project eco-Tourism, which he began during his MFA at Elam School of Fine Arts in 1994, Sameshima's focus is on four sites of culture: high cultural institutions, consumer institutions, tourist sites, the landscape and the environment. The Kauri Project website expands on this:

[...] this body of work maps out cultural display strategies found in New Zealand, and explores larger questions around photography as a discipline – its documentation of, and participation in, spectacle. I photographed landscapes using an aesthetic approach that referenced photographs in nearby museum and gallery collections. In this sense eco-Tourism is a dual project: about relationships between attractions and money (the tourism industry), and about the history of photography and the way our country has been imaged over two centuries.

As well as a prolific history of exhibiting his photographs, he has been a teacher at various tertiary art institutions. He runs Rim Books, an independent art book publisher, and initiated the collaborative Studio La Gonda on Karangahape Road alongside Mark Adams, who also works with large-format photography. He has collaborated with many artists and writers as a photographer, writer and publisher on numerous artist publications, including those of Paula Morris, Edith Amituanai and Jane Dodd.


Key works / presentations


2020 — Shining Land: Looking for Robin Hyde with Paula Morris, Massey University

2020 — . . . . . and then there were none with Harvey Benge, Jon Carapiet, Stu Sontier and Lloyd Jones, Rim Books

2015 — Et in Arcadia ego, limited edition photobook, self-published for the exhibition Open Book

2015 — Selective Exposure, published for exhibition organised by Rim Books at Photospace Gallery

2013 — ‘MoMento’ Issue 13, Motu Manawa, Whau River, Rosebank Road, PhotoForum

2012 —Thinking it through, with Tony Watkins. Karaka Bay Press and Rim Books

2009 — Bold Centuries: a Photographic History Album, Rim Books and PhotoForum, Tāmaki Makaurau

1996 — ‘The Shopping Mall as a Place of Contemplation – a photo story, in New Zealand By the Way, Immigrant Photographers & Photographs of Immigrants, Agfa, Jenner Zimmerman


2023 — Tamatea, Dusky Sound 1995, Two Rooms, Tāmaki Makaurau, group exhibition

2023 — Peaks & Troughs, Jonathan Smart Gallery, Ōtautahi, group exhibition

2019 — Neighbours, Anna Miles Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau, group exhibition

2018 — Things Seen and Heard, Te Papa, Pōneke, group exhibition, curated by Emma Ng

2014 — A Nostalgia for Modernity, Engine Room, Massey University, Pōneke

2011 — Vexing Objects, McNamara Gallery Photography, Whanganui

2005 — Twin Peaks, McNamara Gallery Photography, Whanganui

2004 — Wish Images, Show Gallery, Pōneke

1998 — Wet Dreams, Anna Bibby Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau

1995 — Souvenir, Claybrook Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau

1993 — No Frills, Claybrook Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau

1991 — Aesthetic Science, Lazelle Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau

Last updated: 25 March 2024 Suggest an Edit


An empty lot between large grey buildings, where cars are parked.

Haruhiko Sameshima, 24th September 2017 (Wollensak Raptor 210mm f45 - 3 seconds), 2017 (From Cathedral Square looking towards Hereford Street Car Park building, through Wilson’s Car Park.)

Courtesy of Haruhiko Sameshima

Haruhiko Sameshima, Arcadia, photobook produced for the exhibition Open Book (2015-2016) organised by Shelley Jacobson, 2015

Courtesy of Haruhiko Sameshima

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Double page spreads of Sameshima's photo essay including text and photographs in various layouts.

Haruhiko Sameshima, 'The Shopping Mall as a Place of Contemplation – a photo story', in New Zealand By the Way - Immigrant Photographers & Photographs of Immigrants, 1996

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A bare tree, predominantly the trunk, in an urban park with snow on the ground and skyscrapers in the background veiled by leafless tree.

Haruhiko Sameshima, Washington Market Park and One World Trade Centre, 2014

Courtesy of Haruhiko Sameshima

Black and white photograph depicting part of a plinth with a sculpture of a human form atop, with the whole sculpture visible in the shadow it is casting on a white wall.

Haruhiko Sameshima, Athenes, 1992

Courtesy of Haruhiko Sameshima

Text for 'Studio Visit', in Metro magazine, June 2022

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Haruhiko Sameshima, ­‘The Documentary Impulse in Edith Amituanai’s Art’, in Double Take, Adam Art Gallery, 2019

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A winding boardwalk pathway disappearing into native forest.

Haruhiko Sameshima, Waipoua, Te Matua Ngahere track, (kauri forest board walk), 1994

Courtesy of Haruhiko Sameshima

Black and white diptych photograph  of a mountain-shaped playground feature.

Haruhiko Sameshima, Kowhai Park, Wanganui (play mountain),1994

Courtesy of Haruhiko Sameshima

Four cars in a gravel carpark behind which a new building is visible. The lighting is pink and dusky, with a string of colourful lights and umbrellas between the carpark and new building indicating a makeshift bar.

Haruhiko Sameshima, 29th September 2017(Wide-field Ektar 250mm f32 – 1 minute), 2017 (Smash Palace)