The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

A benefit auction for Phil Jacobs

by Tom Ackroyd on November 13, 2012 in Events, Photography

A few years ago my son’s point-&-shoot needed a simple repair. I realised I had no idea where to go to get cameras fixed. Were there even camera-repairers any more? When they break, don’t you just buy another camera?

A friend said “Oh, there’s that guy on Jackson Street – he fixes everything”.

“That guy” was Phil Jacobs, and he runs his camera repair business from home in Petone. When we came to drop the camera off, Phil took us into his workshop, and I immediately knew we were in good hands:

Black & white photo of Phil Jacobs at his workshop desk, which is covered in cameras in various states of disassembly.

Photo: Simon Hoyle


Of course, it turns out Phil is a legend in the photographic community. He has been repairing cameras for 40 years, and, as Wellington photographer James Gilberd puts it:

Almost every photographer who has worked in this city has used his services at some time or another, and in an indirect but important way he has made a significant contribution to photography as an art form, a business, and a means of personal and social expression.”

Sadly, Phil is now terminally ill, and – unable to work, or support his family, including his elderly parents – is under major financial pressure.

So James, together with fellow photographers Mark Beehre and John Williams, has organised a benefit auction to raise funds. The auction includes works by both established and emerging photographers and will be held on Friday 30th November, in The Pit at Te Ara Hihiko, Massey University’s brand new Art and Design School building. Everybody is welcome, and there will be photographs to suit all pockets. As James says:

Whether you’re a serious collector or someone who’s never bought a photograph as a piece of artwork before, there’ll be something here for you. Massey University have graciously provided us with a superb venue and we’re looking forward to a very successful event.

There will be a preview event at Photospace Gallery, 5pm on Monday 26 November, with viewing continuing there until 4pm Thursday.

The event at The Pit on Friday starts with drinks & entertainment at 6, and the auction itself kicks off at 7.

More info at

Tom Ackroyd

stephen clover November 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm
Greg Bodnar November 14, 2012 at 7:59 am

Phil is amazing and has handled all of my photographic reconstructive surgery. He’s handled over-the-phone trouble-shooting for me and his knowledge blows my mind. I was incredibly saddened when I heard of his illness. I can’t imagine a man more unique.

Rab November 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm

I met Phil as soon as I arrived in Wellington as a struggling photo artist newly arrived from Berlin in 1997..he was always so helpful and such a nice guy.I was truly saddened when I heard about his illness…im in Melbourne..i wish i could have contributed an image to help him out.My best wishes please to him if any one can contact him..dammit..ill send him a card…x

twelveplusone November 24, 2012 at 10:52 am

Rab – you should get in touch with James Gilberd at Photospace – he will be able to help.

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