Neil Pardington's practice has been described as ‘straight photography with a twist’. He works in the space between documentary photography – where the defining principle is to capture the truth about the world – and conceptual photography, which contends that such a truth can never really be depicted.
Working in City Group, Neil made the experimental films Pier, and North-South Project, which was selected for the National Art Gallery’s 1986 survey exhibition Content/Context.
In 1994 Neil’s short film The Dig was selected for Un Certain Regard, Cannes International Film Festival. In 2002 he produced the feature film For Good.
In 2003 he immersed himself in the world of hospitals and medical museums. The work that resulted from this, The Clinic, was featured in two major survey exhibitions of New Zealand art – The 2nd Auckland Triennial, Auckland Art Gallery and Telecom Prospect 2004, City Gallery Wellington.
His following project The Vault – shot in museum and art gallery storerooms – was developed into a major touring exhibition and publication by Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu. In 2011 Neil received the Marti Freidlander Photography Award.
In 2020 work from the series The Abattoir (2010) featured in the exhibition world tour and publication Civilisation: the way we live now.
Neil’s current work reflects on the history of Aotearoa / New Zealand and the impact of colonisation.
His work is held in national and international collections including National Gallery of Victoria, Australia; Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua, Whanganui, Otago Museum and the Hocken Library.
Neil studied at Elam School of Fine Arts and has a BFA from the University of Auckland. He is of Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Ngāti Kahungunu and Pākehā descent. He lives in Wellington with his wife Amelia Minty, daughter Billie, and son Sam. Neil’s career as a photographer has developed alongside his work as a designer, for which he is the recipient of numerous awards.