Ann Shelton

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1967

Doublet (after Heavenly Creatures), Parker/Hulme crime scene, Port Hills, Christchurch, New Zealand

In 1954 the nation was gripped by news of the horrific murder of Mrs Honora Parker on a walking track in Christchurch’s Port Hills. The subsequent court case inspired several books, and a feature film by Peter Jackson, Heavenly Creatures. Ann Shelton’s photograph pictures the track where it happened, perhaps – the exact spot isn’t public knowledge. Shelton says that this work is “in one sense a response to my earlier career as a press photographer and to the focus of the media on the heightened moment of the events … I have attempted to address the representation of trauma outside the moment of its occurrence.” Shelton’s image depicts the path mirrored and diverging. We might imagine that in one image the event occurs: in the other, perhaps it does not, and three people leave the park.

(Now, Then, Next: Time and the Contemporary, 15 June 2019 – 8 March 2020)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • The shocking brick-in-a-stocking killing of Honora Parker by her daughter, Pauline, and Pauline’s best friend, Juliet Hulme, took place in Christchurch’s Victoria Park in 1954. Ann Shelton explains her interest in sites of violent events, both fictional and factual, as being about where myths are born and then ‘exported’ through film and literature.

    The Parker-Hulme murder was the subject of the movie Heavenly Creatures, and this work creates mirror images of the infamous site. It is as though the paths, leading away from one another, represent the increasing separation of history and myth.

    Shelton graduated from the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 1995 with a degree in photography. She has worked as a photojournalist and has done production stills for a number of films. Shelton currently lives and works in Auckland.