Barry smells like salami and has hairy ears. He lives on a remote beach at the end of a long gravel road off of a lonely highway in the sparsely populated south island of a country isolated in the southern pacific ocean. And yet he’s famous, for a Kiwi anyway.
I saw Barry on TV on my flight to New Zealand. He was being interviewed for a documentary about NZ’s wild coasts, the host of the show more or less implying that Barry was crazy for living where he does with the wild Tasman Sea pounding his front yard. But Barry didn’t seem to mind the fact that his driveway gets washed out monthly and that during bigger storms he has two feet of seawater sloshing around his front door. No, he was happy as a clam out at his little end of the earth.
In person Barry radiates the same quiet contentment. He hardly seemed surprised at all when photographer Sean Webb and I knocked on his front door and asked if we could shoot his beach. We were in search of a place called Arnott Point because I had heard you could find seals and penguins on its rocky shores. And with a promising sunset in the making I wanted to shoot a location that was quintessentially New Zealand. Seals and penguins surely fit the bill, but finding Arnott Point proved easier said than done.
After much fruitless searching and peering down cliffs, Sean and I found ourselves wending down a gravel road toward the ocean a few miles north of where we knew Arnott Point to be. I shook my head in disbelief when we reached the end of the road and saw the same crusty old house from the documentary, with the same old crusty guy inside. But he was warm and kind and welcomed us to photograph his beach. He went so far as to give us directions to find Arnott Point, but even with his specific instructions, his repeated use of the phrase “rough old track” makes me think that getting to the place is going to be an adventure as hairy as Barry’s ears.