Australian First World War Photography 1999

pdf: Australian First World War Photography 1999

Australian First World War Photography

History of Photography, Vol. 23, No. 2, Summer, 1999.

On the twenty-sixth of September 1917, during the Third Ypres Campaign on the Western Front in Flanders, Frank Hurley and Charles Bean began a long argument about photographic verisimilitude. Captain Frank Hurley, one of Australia’s newly appointed war photographers, wanted to combine several different negatives into a single battle tableau, and C. E. W. Bean, Australia’s long-standing war correspondent and official war historian, prohibited it.

An amateur photographer himself, Bean valorized pho­tographic objectivity in his own reportage writing. After he was appointed official Australian ‘eyewitness’ to the war in 1915, he referred to himself in his diary as an Australian recorder’ and was angered when Australian newspapers preferred to publish the more lurid and fanciful accounts of the Reuters pool reporters over his own official dispatches, which ended up being described as ‘colourless’ by the Bulletin.” To Bean, however, ‘the private interests of papers are something which cut right across the interests of the country — scoops, competition, magnification and exaggera­tion are out of all harmony with what is best for country’. In 1916 he began a campaign to establish an Australian War Records Section which would ‘preserve and tenderly care for the sacred things which will some day constitute the greatest public possession Australia will have’. It would collect war relics (a term he preferred to trophy),3 which would act as both vivid historical expository devices, and as spiritual shipping containers in which to bring some essence of the experience of the Anzacs4 back to Australia from France, where many thousands of their bodies were to remain. It would also collect photographs as ‘sacred records — standing for future generations to see forever the plain simple truth’.5

To Bean, both photographs and relics sat on the same continuum, because both received and retained direct index-ical impressions of the fighting. For example, in July 1918, Bean had two, front-and-back, anthropological-style photo­graphs taken of two diggers6 when they came out of the fighting.7 Then he had their uniforms and all their gear taken from them and replaced by a completely new outfit. In the words of Bean’s biographer: ‘Everything that was taken from these soldiers, with all the emanations evocative of battle, fear, death, endurance and heroism, was to be sealed up, just as it came from these men, and sent back to Australia so that their countrymen might feel these emana­tions and be reminded what manner of men these had been’.8

To Bean both the war relic and the record photograph would also provide a ready-made archaeological substratum for the nascent Australian nation. For example, in 1919, after the Armistice, Bean returned to Gallipoli with the Australian Historical Mission and, in a scrupulous valedictory labour, combed the ground for relics which he referred to as ‘ “antiquities” only four years old’.9 These were then forens-ically examined to determine how far inland the Australians had penetrated on the morning of the first landing. Significant finds were photographed in situ. A seemingly insignificant photograph of a water bottle lying under a bush, Australian relics on the north-easternmost spur of Battleship Hill, is only activated into historical, and spiritually mnemonic life by its caption: ‘This was probably the point reached by Tulloch’s Company on 25th April 1915’.10

The Australian War Records Section was established in June 1917, and two Australian photographers, Hubert Wilkins and Frank Hurley, were appointed to the Section shortly thereafter. If Bean revered the photograph as an inviolable historical record and immutable spiritual artefact, to Hurley it was a manipulable, spectacular showcase. Frank Hurley was much more than just a photographer. At the time of his appointment to the Section he was a household name as a polar explorer and a showman film maker, photographer and adventurer.11 He already had extensive experience with the production of popular attractions, all of which used the latest film and photographic technology, and all of which featured himself as showman. A youthful apprenticeship in Sydney as a postcard photographer special­izing in spectacular subjects and unusual effects prepared him for the heroic work he produced on the Mawson Antarctic expedition of 1911 — 13 and the Shackleton Antarctic Expedition of 1914—16. Hurley produced and appeared with theatre presentations of the cinema film and lantern slides he shot on these expeditions. His film of the Mawson expedition, Home of the Blizzard, was screened in Sydney in 1913 whilst Mawson was still stranded in Antarctica. Hurley appeared at each screening as the figure of the returned imperial explorer to give a personal recitation to accompany the film.

After receiving the honorary rank of Captain from the AIF,1 Hurley established with Bean a clear separation between the duties of himself and Lieutenant Hubert Wilkins: ‘Wilkins will attend to the records, and I myself to the publicity pictures and aesthetic results’.13 Bean saw the division of labour between the two photographers in similar terms, but placed quite different weightings on their relative importance. Whilst admitting that both photographers were ‘utterly daring fellows’, Bean always felt more affinity for Wilkins. To him Hurley was merely a ‘keen commercial man’ devoted to publicity and propaganda, whereas Wilkins was committed to providing future historians with records accurate enough to be relied on as historical evidence.14 Bean not only saw these as ‘conflicting activities’,1= but to him the publicity photographer was necessarily excluded from the urgent historical imperatives of military, and there­fore national, destiny. Only the record photographer who risked his life out of ‘his own sense of duty’16 truly ‘played [his] part as [an] Australian soldier’.17 After the Third Ypres Campaign, Bean warmly recommended Wilkins for a Military Cross, and rather lukewarmly recommended Hurley for a Mention in Dispatches.18 Wilkins received his Military Cross but Hurley never received his Mention in Dispatches.

However, like Bean, Hurley was overwhelmed by the horror of the Front and greatly impressed by the futile bravery of the Anzac soldiers, which he immediately saw in the same nation-forming terms as Bean. His picturesque imagination was excited by the weird juxtapositions of modern warfare, where expansive scenes of pastoral beauty existed within a few kilometres of the compacted hell of the trenches, and everything was overseen by awesome new technologies. Hurley had trouble scenographically encompassing this visual sweep. During the Battle of Polygon Wood the speed and intensity of battle were his biggest problem. Both Hurley and Wilkins wanted to capture the random instantaneity of aerial bombardment: ‘In spite of heavy shelling by the Boche, we made an endeavour to secure a number of shell burst pictures. … I took two pictures by hiding in a dugout and then rushing out and snapping’.19

It was that evening that Hurley and Bean began their argument: ‘Had a great argument with Bean about combina­tion pictures. Am thoroughly convinced that it is impossible to secure effects, without resorting to combination pic­tures’.20 Composite printing was a staple technique with which Hurley was well acquainted. He had already produced composites from his Shackleton Antarctic Expedition nega­tives. The technique was widely used by amateurs to add moodily artistic cloud effects to landscapes, but postcard companies and illustrated newspapers also occasionally used it to recreate complex scenarios. 1

The dispute was important to both men because the Australian High Commission in London was planning an exhibition of war pictures at the Grafton Galleries in May 1918. Bean also sought to get a perspective on the argument by retreating to his diary: ‘ … had a long argument with Hurley who  wants  to  be  allowed  to  make  “composite” pictures for his exhibition — i.e. to put in a shell burst made by trench mortars at St Pol. I can see his point, he has been nearly killed a dozen times and has failed to get the pictures he wants — but we will not have it at any price’.22 Five days after their initial confrontation Hurley and Bean continued their argument, and both hardened their stances. Bean got General Headquarters to prohibit Hurley from making com­posites and Hurley, banking on his prestige as a famous polar explorer, tactically responded by tipping the ante:

Had a lengthy discussion with Bean re pictures for exhibition and publicity purposes. Our authorities here will not permit me to pose any pictures or indulge in any original means to secure them … . As this absolutely takes all possibilities of producing pictures from me, I have decided to tender my resignation at once. I conscientiously consider it but right to illustrate to the public the things our fellows do and how the war is conducted. They can only be got by printing a result from a number of negatives or re-enactment. This is out of reason and they prefer to let all these interesting episodes pass. This is unfair to our boys and I conscientiously could not undertake to continue to work.23

I sent in my resignation this morning and await result of igniting the fuse. It is disheartening after striving to secure the impossible and running all hazards to meet with little encour­agement. I am unwilling and will not make a display of war pictures unless the Military people see their way clear to give me a free hand.24

However, Hurley continued to photograph and film. Called to General Headquarters to photograph the 1st Anzac staff, he spoke to General Birdwood who promised to ‘fix matters up’.25 A few days later Hurley was able to report in his diary: ‘Headquarters have given me permission to make six combination enlargements in the exhibition so I withdrew my resignation … . However it will be no delusion to the public as they will be distinctly titled, setting forth the number of negatives used, etc. All of the elements will be taken in action’.26 In early November Hurley was sent to Palestine to cover the Australian Light Horse. Away from the strictures of both the Front and Bean, he flourished. He found the battalions, and battalion commanders, extremely amenable to staging re-enacted ‘stunts’ for his camera.

Hurley returned to London in May 1918 to prepare for the exhibition of Australian war pictures at the Grafton Galleries. He arranged to have 130 negatives printed, his six composites and other images enlarged to mural size at Raines & Co in Ealing, and colour lantern slides made from the Paget colour plates. He enthusiastically described the exhibition in his diary:

The exhibition was well patronised today. The colour lantern is working excellently. The colour slides depict scenes on the Western Front, Flanders and also Palestine. They are gems and elicit applause at every showing. A military band plays through­out the day. … Our largest picture ‘THE RAID’ depicting an episode at the Battle of Zonnebeke [is a combination of twelve negatives] and measures over 20ft x 15’6′ high. Two waves of infantry are leaving the trenches in the thick of a Boche Barrage of shells and shrapnel. A flight of bombing aeroplanes accompanies them. An enemy plane is burning in the foreground. The whole picture is realistic of battle, the atmospheric effects of battle smoke are particularly fine. Another sensational picture is ‘DEATH THE REAPER’. This remarkable effect is made up of two  negatives.  One, the foreground, shows the mud splashed corpse of a boche floating in a shell crater. The second is an extraordinary shell burst: the form of which resembles death. The Palestine series are magnificent … . It is some recompense to see one’s work shown to the masses and to receive favourable criticism after the risks and hardships I have taken and endured to secure the negatives.27

The composite Hurley referred to as ‘The Raid’ was sub­sequently variously known as An episode after the Battle at Zonnebeke,2 or sometimes Over the Top29 (figure 1). The foreground is constructed from the final two images of a rapid sequence of three photographs he shot of a group of soldiers going over the top (figure 2). In the composite, these sequential images of the same soldiers become spat-ialized two lines of advancing troops, and planes, shrapnel and smoke have been added into the background. The original sequence was most probably taken during a training exercise or a re-enactment since they have been accessioned out of series by the Records Section; in addition, it is extremely unusual to see any photographs, let alone a sequence of three, taken from such an exposed position during a battle; and, finally, the actual battle was fought in torrential rain and a quagmire of mud, whilst in the compos­ite the ground appears dry.30

Although oil and water colour sketches were exhibited in a separate room, the photographs received most press attention. In particular the colour lantern slides received notices that confirm Hurley’s enthusiastic diary entries.31 A day or so later Wilkins visited London sporting his Military Cross. Hurley commented darkly, ‘Strings have been pulled’.32 Bean also came to London and visited the exhibi­tion. He had already discovered that Hurley had attempted to smuggle some colour plates out of France for the exhibi­tion without going through the censor — he was angry, but not surprised, at Hurley’s unscrupulousness.33 He was further angered when he realized that Hurley now intended to abandon the task of photographing the continuing trials of the Anzacs in France in order to return to Australia to continue his showman career. And he did not like -what he saw when he visited the exhibition either:

Our exhibition is easily the best I have seen, although there is too much Hurley in it — his name is on every picture with few exceptions — including some that Wilkins took; and what should be a fine monument to the sacrifice of Australians in France is rather an advertisement for Hurley. … Hurley was married in Egypt and is determined to go back to Australia straight. I shall see that he does not have management of this exhibition there.34

As the exhibition continued to attract larger and larger numbers of visitors (on one Sunday a thousand people saw it in three hours) Bean mobilized his forces against Hurley’s plans. Hurley recorded it all in his diary, only hinting that he knew who might be pulling the strings:

I am urging that the present set of enlargements be sent to Australia for propaganda. No better medium could we possibly have. The exhibition has been pronounced by experts to be the best since the beginning of the war.33

I have omitted a week from my diary, having been so disgusted with the treatment I have received from the High Commissioner’s  office and  the A.  I.   F.  It has worried me considerably. A deadlock has been arrived at which excludes me from taking the Exhibition of my own pictures to Australia …. The only reason Australia House ascribe to their attitude is because I am soliciting publicity. They accuse me of making a Hurley show of the exhibition, which is an infernal lie. … It seems beyond conception that government officials can assume such an attitude which is nothing but the outcome of personal jealousy. … I do not intend to let the matter drop here, but will have it taken up further by the Australian press.36

The exhibition was sent on a provincial English tour. Hurley unsuccessfully tried to persuade Australia House to produce a duplicate set to take to Australia. He resigned on 11 July and received permission to make smaller versions of the AIF photographs, including the composites, for his private use, paying for the materials himself.37

Meanwhile, Bean was, in his own way, attending to the propaganda potential of photographs. His attempt to prohibit Hurley from taking his composite tableaux to Australia did not mean that he was ignoring the value of photography for propaganda altogether. Whilst Hurley was arguing with the High Commissioner, Bean was organizing for 72 small 4×6 cm photographs to be available for purchase by the troops, at a shilling each. Bean also produced several series of lantern slides for the recruiting authority in Australia. As Bean admitted, ‘the originator of this scheme was really Hurley’.38

Back in Australia, Hurley was amongst friends once more. In early 1919, after the Armistice, he got permission from the Minister for Defence to exhibit his personal collec­tion of the smaller AIF photographs at Kodak’s Sydney Salon, which paid for the framing and mounting. The proceeds of the exhibition, some £300, were donated to the Red Cross. He used the press consummately to complain about his treatment in London. A talk he gave to the Photographic Society of New South Wales was reported under the headline ‘Australian War Pictures Kept In England’,39 and two corres­pondents wrote letters of support to the Sydney Morning Herald, which conveniently allowed Hurley to reply:

Sir, After seeing Captain Frank Hurley’s wonderful war pictures … 1 cannot help wondering how it is that we have not become acquainted with them before. They are the real thing, and are of historic value. … I believe this collection is only one third of the pictures he has photographed on the battlefield, the others are in the keeping of military authorities in London. Why have they not reached Australia? Isn’t it worthwhile making some effort to obtain them for our National Art Gallery or Mitchell Library or some other place where they could have a permanent home, and serve as a memento of what our soldiers actually did in the great war, when they travelled 12 000 miles to help the Motherland. I write as an Anzac’s sister. I am etc. May Summerbelle.40

… The last I heard of the collection of pictures was that they rested in peace, or rather pieces, in the vault of Australia House, London, in a shroud of red tape and cobwebs. Surely, indeed, this is gross injustice to the people, and a poor tribute to those who had deeply at heart the immortalisation of doings great in the history of our nation. … I am etc. Frank Hurley, Captain.41

Hurley’s Kodak Salon exhibition received much publicity. The composites were reproduced in many different newspa­pers and magazines. Hurley had assured the AIF that there would be ‘no delusion to the public’,42  and in the catalogue that accompanied the exhibition he freely admitted that: ‘In order to convey accurate battle impressions, I have made several composite pictures, utilising a number of negatives for the purpose’.43 However, the catalogue does not identify the composites, and when they were reproduced sometimes their composite nature was noted, sometimes not. All the time, however, the authenticity of the composites was stressed. Considerably stretching the truth, the catalogue stated that ‘The elements of these composites were all taken in action and submitted to the G. O. C. A. I. F. who gave his approval for their production’.44 It was crucial for the reception of the images as authentic that all the component parts of the composites be assumed to be taken in action. Newspaper reviews certainly worked on that assumption.

War Pictures Realistic Collection Capt. Hurley’s work

‘The Dawn of Passchendaele’ immediately arrests attention, this is a very striking picture with all the sinister suggestions appropriate to that dreadful day. It was taken under machine gun fire at a spot where some stretcher-bearers had laid down their stricken burdens overnight to await for a relief party. The recumbent, shrouded figures — the attitude of complete exhaustion in which a guarding bearer leans against a wall — tell a mute story of suffering and endurance which gives the heart a sharp pang and stirs the imagination to a perhaps more intimate realisation of what prodigies of devotion and sacrifice those shell swept trenches of Flanders witnessed.43


The pictures … are photographs taken at great risk during battles, and not fancy pictures faked from a safe position behind the lines. I received this news from the mouth of a returned soldier who said, ‘They are the goods, in the thick of the fight was Hurley with his camera; both he and his camera must have been charmed’.46

These responses to Hurley’s composites (figures 3—5) are themselves a kind of composite: the reading of the ‘sinister suggestions’ produced by the addition of heavy clouds conforms to a conventional mode of pictorial decipherment which uses a generic lexicon derived from salon painting, whilst, at the same time, the assumption that the compo­nent parts are actual adds a ‘sharp pang’ of authenticity. The word ‘faked’, here, is used to distinguish composites sup­posedly comprising authentic components from staged re-enactments.

Hurley, explaining himself to a camera club readership, appropriated their word ‘impression’ in order to further validate his composites. Within camera clubs, ‘impression’ was normally used to describe ‘artistic’ or ‘pictorial’ photo­graphs, but Hurley used it more generally to describe an authorized auteurial mode of photographic malleability:

Special permission was granted … for the making of ‘Photographic Impression Pictures’ …. None but those who have endeavoured can realise the insurmountable difficulties of portraying a modern battle by camera. To include the event on a single negative, I have tried and tried, but the results are hopeless.   Everything  is  on  such  a  vast scale.   Figures  are

scattered — the atmosphere is dense with haze and smoke — shells will not burst where required — yet the whole elements are there could they but be brought together and condensed. The battle is in full swing, the men are just going over the top — and I snap! A fleet of bombing planes is flying low, and a barrage burst all around. On developing my plate there is disappointment! All I find is a record of a few figures advancing from the trenches — and a background of haze. Nothing could be more unlike a battle. It might be a rehearsal in a paddock. Now if negatives are taken of all the separate incidents in the action and combined, some idea may be gained of what a modern battle looks like.

Ironically, Hurley had, in fact, used photographs taken of ‘a rehearsal in a paddock’ to create his most hyper-real and convincing battle scene. Besides dexterously fudging the truth, Hurley also took the opportunity to reply, inter alia, to Bean’s interdiction by citing the ultimate authority — the digger:

During a recent exhibition held in London by the High Commissioner for Australia, one such picture, depicting a scene near Zonnebeke, was enlarged up to 300 square feet. Attired in civilian dress, I often mingled with the ‘diggers’ to hear their scathing criticism. When I find they approve and pass favourable judgement, then I feel convinced such impres­sion composites are justified.4

Immediately after his exhibition Hurley offered to sell his prints to the National Art Gallery (now the Art Gallery of New South Wales) and they were eventually acquired by the Mitchell Library. Two years later, in August 1921, the first photographic exhibition from Bean’s Australian War Museum opened at the Melbourne Aquarium, and was seen by 83 000 people in five weeks. Mural-sized enlargements and colour prints were on display, and particular photographs could be ordered to raise money for the future Memorial. Like Hurley’s show, the exhibition reproduced the horror of the war on an immediate level:

There, most truly and vividly, war in all its frightfulness is pictured …. The horror of all those things so vividly shown in these photographs makes itself most terribly felt …. Every phase of the war is presented without trimmings or politeness. It is a real record, and one which Australians will value and be proud of. The photographs have been selected from 20 000 negatives in the possession of the War Museum’s committee. They were so accurate and complete that the military censors in France insisted on their being treated as secret documents.49

But this exhibition, compiled on Bean’s terms, was able to achieve more, even, than had Hurley’s own exhibition: the archival monumentality of the 20000 negatives in the nation’s collection, plus their ontological status as ‘real records’ which at one time even had the strategic status of ‘secret documents’, gives these images an extra artefactual solidity. In addition, the exhibition was a mnemonic event that directly addressed itself to each returned digger and each grieving relative individually:

[I]t is estimated that nearly 60 percent of the personnel of the A. I. F. appear in the views, which are ‘keyed’ and indexed so that it is possible to identify nearly every man who was ‘snapped’. … By means of a unique system of indexing, hundreds of relatives have been able to see photographs of men who were killed or missing, and soldiers who have returned have identified themselves and their comrades on the battle fronts.50

Two years after that, in 1923, the twelfth volume of Bean’s Official History was devoted entirely to photographs, 753 in all, each one meticulously captioned and each one, Bean was careful to note in his introduction, ‘as far as possible, scrupulously genuine. … The pictures here printed have not been retouched in any way except to remedy scratches or other obvious flaws in the negatives’.51

In photography the division between the fake and the not-fake has always been unstable. Bean’s argument with Hurley took place before the full development of the documentary genre in the 1920s and ’30s which established the technical slice of the shutter-blade, guillotining and encapsulating a contingent moment, as the only guarantor of truth. However, in the case of Hurley’s composites, photographic authenticity is guaranteed by the manual virtu­osity of scenographic effect which is able to assemble multiple moments into a single tableau, with a second-degree pictorial expressivity to provide legibility, and an exegetic, performat­ive testimony from the impresario/witness to provide authenticity. To the contemporaneous viewer Hurley’s com­posite techniques were not illicit fakery, but licit special effects tacitly deployed to produce a legitimate scenario worthy of emotional and phenomenological investment.

Hurley’s argument with Bean also took place when the specific gravity of the photograph as artefact was still high — before photography’s atomization during the age of its mechanical reproduction — when the photograph was primarily encountered as an object to be pasted into an album or placed on a mantelpiece. Bean’s pious reverence for the purity of the photograph related as much to its status as a potent relic to be eternally exposited by his larger history, as to its putative ‘documentary’ ability to contain a self-evident historical truth. For Bean the main game was long-term national memory, and that needed artefactually stable images which interlocked into a monumental reliquary archive. In that context, Hurley’s composites were dangerous fakes because they drained the indexical charge from the relic.

Hurley’s composites are quaint historical footnotes now, and would not move audiences even if they still existed in their original salon picture size. The heroic stories they told, and their rich pictorial embroidery, now seem threadbare and slightly disreputable. On the other hand, none of Wilkins’s record photographs have become iconic either, despite being reproduced many times. Many do, indeed, look like rehearsals in a paddock, and tend to be crippled without Bean’s meticulous captions. Hurley’s sensational effects compromised the photograph’s optical and temporal specificity, but strategically produced an immediate, though evanescent emotion. Bean’s collection of indexical photo­graphic records did become integral to his highly successful Memorial, but they are only able to act as a monument to the dead within larger sustaining institutional structures and mythic mnemonic mechanisms.

Despite the subsequent historical slippage of the terms in which it was couched, their argument lined up along either side of a dialectic that has remained persistently entrenched within photography. The major theorists of photography within modernity (Benjamin, Bazin, Barthes) all   subsequently   elaborated   on   this   dialectic   when   they distinguished, in various ways, between the indexical charge of the photograph as artefact and the semiotic mutability of the photograph as image. Current postmodern developments in digital technology have added new twists to their argu­ment. Recent journalistic anxiety over the supposed threat of the digital to the autonomous authority of the news photograph would have had a familiar ring to Bean. Photography’s role within the newly digital mass media is less now as a provider of an endless series of rectangular, guillotined slices of time and space, and more as a font for a continuous stream of mutable visual data to be assembled and reassembled into various pictorial configurations. Exegetic protocols are currently being established within the media to set the various levels of agreed fakery, from factual reportage to editorial illustration. In addition, the media’s own ubiquitous presence throughout the real means that the distinction between a spontaneous and an enacted profilmic event is more and more difficult to make. And the growing archive of historical photography and film, which distingu­ishes less and less between documentary and fictional sources, means that the past is known as much through fabulated as actual historical images.5

As the twentieth century progressed, the guillotining blade of the camera shutter became the core of photography’s technical ontology. The documentary movement entrenched the snapshot image as photography’s normative style, and the indexical photograph became our culture’s key historical and mnemonic artefact. But although it might once have appeared that the issue of fakery had been settled for good, it now seems that an argument of eighty years ago is far from over yet.


  1. D. McCarthy,  Gallipoli to the Somme:  The Story of C.  E. Sydney: John Ferguson 1983, 233, 270.
  2. C.  E.  W. Bean,   C.  E.   W.  Bean Diary, Australian  War Memorial, AWM38, 3DRL606, series 1, item 88, 19 September 1917.
  3. C. E. W. Bean, Gallipoli Mission, Canberra: Australian War Memorial 1948, 6.
  4. Members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
  5. M. McKernan, Here is Their Spirit, Brisbane: University of Queensland Press 1991, 42.
  6. Australian colloquialism for an Australian soldier, particularly those that served in the First World War.
  7. AWM E2818, E2819, ‘Two diggers from the 5th Australian Division’, 30 July 1918.
  8. D. McCarthy, Gallipoli to the Somme, 34.
  9. Bean, Gallipoli Mission, 4.
  10. Ibid., 111.
  11. J. Thomas, Showman, Canberra: National Library of Australia 1990; D. Millar, Snowdrift and Shellfire, David Ell Press 1984.
  12. Australian Imperial Force.
  13. F. Hurley, My Diary, Official War Photographer, Commonwealth Military Forces, from 21 August 1917 to 31 August 1918, typewritten manuscript, National Library of Australia, MS883,Series 1, Item 5, 5 September, 1917. Bean, Gallipoli Mission, 20.
  14. x
  15. C.  E.  W.  Bean and H.  S.  Gullett,  Photographic Record of the  War:
  16. Reproductions  of Pictures  taken  hy  the Australian   Official Photographers,
  17. Sydney: Angus and Robertson 1923, vii—viii.
  18. C.  E. W. Bean,   Wilkins and Hurley recommendations, Australian War
  19. Memorial, AWM38, DRL6673, item 57, 24 October 1917.
  20. Bean and Gullett, Photographic Record of the War, vii—viii.
  21. C. E. W. Bean, Wilkins and Hurley recommendations.
  22. Hurley, My Diary, 26 September 1917.
  23. Ibid.  ‘
  24. For example, the Australian War Memorial holds a composite postcard
  25. by Underwood, ‘Battle in Skies During Zeppelin Raid on England’,
  26. AWM, H18216.
  27. C. E. W. Bean Diar)>, 71-2.
  28. Hurley, My Diary, 1 October 1917.
  29. Hurley, 2 October 1917.
  30. Hurley, 3 October 1917.
  31. Hurley, 6 October 1917.
  32. Hurley, 26, 27, 28 May 1918.
  33. C.        F. Hurley, Catalogue of an Exhihition of War Photographs, Sydney:
    1919, Cat. No. 77.
  34. F. Hurley, Press cuttings, National Library of Australia, MS883, series 2, items 29-36, Newsy Notes (August 1919), n.p.
  35. The first shot from the sequence was exhibited as ‘ “Fix Bayonets”, Australian Infantry preparing to resist a counter attack at Zonnebeke’, State Library of New South Wales Collection PXD19-PXD31. Catalogued in C. F. Hurley, Catalogue of an Exhihition of War Photographs, Sydney: 1919, cat no. 36; and D. O’Keefe, Hurley at War, Sydney: The Fairfax Library 1986, 53. The second shot from the sequence was exhibited, as a detail from the larger composite, as ‘A wave of infantry going over the top to resist a counter attack, Zonnebeke’, SLNSW Collection. Catalogued in C. F. Hurley, cat. no. 41; and D. O’Keefe, 51. The third shot from the sequence is in the Australian War Memorial at E5429 as A photograph taken in France in June 1919 [incorrect date] illustrating the commencement of an attack’. The background aircraft montage was also exhibited separately as ‘Shrapnel bursting amongst reconnoitring planes. Picture taken over the tail of a leading machine’, SLNSW Collection. Catalogued in C. F. Hurley, cat. no. 45. (However, Hurley did not take his first flight until he was sent to Palestine at the end of 1917.)
  36. ‘Colour Photographs. Capt. Hurley’s Work in Palestine’, The Times, London, (6 June 1918), 5. Hurley, My Diary, 4 June 1918.
  37. D.        McCarthy, Gallipoli to the Somme, 333.
    C. E. W. Bean Diary, 5, 6, 7 June 1918.
    Hurley, My Diary, 4 June 1918.
    Hurley, My Diary, 14-21 June 1918.
  38. Information given hy Captain Frank Hurley (Official Photographer A. I. F.)
  39. during interview with Principal Librarian on 27/6/19, State Library of New
  40. South Wales, 27 June 1919.
  41. C. E. W. Bean Diary, 26 June 1918.
  42. Hurley, Press cuttings, National Library of Australia, MS883, series 2,
  43. items 29—36, n.d., n.t., n.p.
  44. Hurley, Press cuttings, Sydney Morning Herald (19 March 1919), n.p.
  45. Hurley, Press cuttings, Sydney Morning Herald (20 March 1919), n.p.
  46. Hurley, My Diary, 6 October 1917.
  47. C. F. Hurley,  Catalogue of an Exhihition of War Photographs, Sydney:
  48. 1919, n.p.
  49. Hurley, n.p.
  50. Hurley, Press cuttings, Sydney Morning Herald (13 March 1919), n.p.
  51. Hurley, Press cuttings, The Sun (12 March 1919), n.p.
  52. Captain F. Hurley, ‘War Photography’, The Australasian Photo-Review
  53. (15 February 1919), 164.
  54. C. F. Hurley, (15 February 1919), 164.
  55. Australian War Pictures: A Wonderful Collection’, The Age (20 August
  56. 1921), 3.
  57. ‘Display of War Pictures, Appeal of the Personal Touch’,  The Argus
  58. (21 August 1921), 5.
  59. C.        E. W. Bean and H. S. Gullett, Photographic Record of the War, viii.
  60. D.        MacDougall, ‘Films of Memory’, in Visualizing Theory: Selected
    Essays from V. A. R. 1990-1994,
    New York and London: Routledge

What has the Australian Centre for Photography ever done for me?

‘What has the Australian Centre for Photography ever done for me?’, Art Monthly, September, 1999

This year is the Australian Centre for Photography’s twenty fifth birthday as an exhibiting gallery. It was a child of the ‘photography boom’ of the 1970s, but since then the ACP has not only been a major player in the appropriational use of photography 1980s, but it has also successfully accommodated the dispersal of media categories in the 1990s to now be in a stable financial position, secure in its own building, and with a new director with an international reputation.

But nonetheless, throughout its history, there has always seemed to have been something wrong with the ACP. And there’s always been somebody willing to point it out. Its problems were right there in its name. How could a gallery and workshop in Sydney’s Paddington  service the needs of photographers Australia wide? And what exactly did it mean by ‘photography’ anyway? Who were the photographers the ACP was set up to enfranchise? And through what means could a ‘Centre’ constitute them as a community in Australia’s limited funding environment and against a rapidly changing technological and cultural landscape? Any photographer anywhere in Australia could legitimately ask ‘what has the ACP done for me?’, and not get much of an answer.

The ACP has always suffered an uneasy, mutually suspicious relationship with its shifting and fractious constituency. It has never wholly escaped the manner of its birth: in 1973 it had been established as a ‘Foundation’ for photography, by decree of the Australia Council, after the successful lobbying of a small group of well connected men.  Since then it has seemed to be always already there, burdened by an accumulation of prior ambitions and allegiances, and perpetually  trying to reinvent its role for a mutating constituency.

But the fact that there was always something wrong with the ACP is what makes its history so fascinating. The ACP has never, in fact, been central to Australian photography. It was always one, albeit better funded and more stable, player amongst the many artist run spaces, quasi-commercial galleries, dealer galleries, small magazines, art school departments and art museum departments which all sprang up in response to the new interest in photography in Australia. By and large the ACP worked cooperatively and supportively with all these other players. But throughout it all it also managed to hang on to the lion’s share of public funding for photography, so that the quarter-century saga of the its internal coup d’états,  public self-flagellations, and internecine snipings are the only thread which runs consistently through recent Australian photography.

The ACP came into its own under the aegis of American museum based formalism. The grandly wild ambition of its founding fathers had conceived of it having an inclusive, populist, social role (somewhat akin to Edward Steichen’s papal role in gathering to the Museum of Modern Art the millions of photographs from which he selected the Family of Man exhibition), as well as an extensive role in supporting individual photographers — from giving them direct grants and commissions to collecting their work. But within a year or two of its opening it had settled into a mode of exhibiting curated shows of art photography to an art audience on a hybrid gallery/museum model — a model which persists to this day.

The personalities of its various directors have always defined the ambience of the ACP. During the tenure of some directors it seemed as though the place had a distinct chill that came from more than just its air conditioning. However directorial style and personality were also a lightning rod for various external disgruntlements. However it must be said that no director lacked vision or courage, and under each the ACP either expanded or consolidated itself as an institution. Nor did any director preside over an entirely homogenous exhibition program. Looking back over the ACP’s archival scrapbooks it is clear that although there were distinct directorial agendas, each director also attempted to answer the demands of the ACP’s rumbustious constituency — they programmed plenty of exceptions to my generalisations below. Nonetheless the succession of ACP directors is a convenient way of periodising the ACP’s style and direction.

In the formative years from 1973 to 1978, under Graham Howe and Bronwyn Thomas, the ACP established an educational workshop and imported American master shows, such as Diane Arbus, and American masters themselves, such as Lee Friedlander. After 1978 Christine Godden consolidated the gallery with an emphasis on professionalism, quality and presentation. Anybody who worked at the ACP during the 70s and 80s will remember its storeroom full of stacked aluminium frames in standard sizes: twelve by sixteen inches, sixteen by twenty inches, and twenty by twenty four images. The walls of the carpeted gallery were clad in sheet steel and wrapped in beige cloth, and the frames were attached in regular rows with industrial strength magnets. The problem was that the kind of photography that this unique hanging system was devoted to —the isolated fine print — was already problematic. The ACP was institutionally perpetuating an increasingly marginalised art ghetto when camera images were proliferating in quantity, dispersing in format, becoming the central theoretical object of postmodern theories of representation, and forming the lingua franca of contemporary art in general. Godden received much criticism from critics such as Anne-Marie Willis. But she was also responsible for moving the ACP from its cramped terrace buildings to a prime Oxford Street location. And she did program agenda-setting non ‘fine art’ shows such as Giorgio Colombo’s exhibition of criminological photography ‘A Suspect Image’, and the conceptual/political work of the Canadians Carole Conde and Karl Beveridge.

From 1982, with Tamara Winikoff as director, the ACP deliberately tried to broaden and connect itself to a wide variety of communities. It began to publish a tabloid format magazine — Photofile; lectures, talks and forums became more regular; the smaller gallery became ‘Viewpoints’ which was devoted to young and emerging photographers selected by a curatorium; and the Workshop became more sophisticated and elaborate in the courses it offered. The gallery program itself swung away from fine art and towards a British, community based, pedagogic model exemplified by the ‘suitcase shows’ it toured. Although this did tap into the expanding number of government grant categories, some found this style of exhibition uninteresting, politically exhausted and theoretically out of date as an art practice. However during this period the ACP also supported ambitious multi media installations such as Dennis Del Favero’s “Quegli Ultimi Momenti” of 1984.

Photofile was particularly exciting in the mid 1980s, after it moved to a magazine format with Geoffrey Batchen as editor. By then a whole range of sophisticated discourses had taken the photograph as their principal subject, and a new generation of relatively theoretically savvy art school graduates placed the photographic image — if not the idea of photography as an autonomous, historicised, fine art medium — at centre stage in Australian art.

Denise Robinson, coming well credentialled from Melbourne’s hip and up-to-date Ewing and George Paton Gallery in 1986, imposed a theoretically driven style that attempted to bring the ACP to the cutting edge of contemporary Australian art, but which many found tendentious, pretentious, cliquish, visually unsatisfying and ultimately alienating.  But during the late 1980s staff discovered that they could paint the beige cloth walls white, they could drive nails through the sheet metal and even pull the carpet up for installations (although, come the early 1990s, the sheet metal walls finally defeated the new de rigour fashion for punctiliously pinning elegantly curled prints to the wall). The new wave of art school graduates were featured in the galleries, which also became important Sydney Biennale and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras venues. However, whilst successful projects such as the 1990 billboard project ADD MAGIC were being staged, the Workshop was languishing, Photofile was disappearing under a miasma of thick prose and arch imagery, and the ACP was falling into debt.

Much of the tenure of the next director Deborah Ely, appointed in 1992, was involved with successfully negotiating the re-financing and extension of the ACP’s building in an epic legal, political and financial battle. However she also got Photofile back on the rails and revamped the Workshop into a technologically relevant professional education provider. The gallery, although closed for long periods, continued the trend of incorporating work of photographically related, particularly digital, media.

The current director, Alasdair Foster, who comes to the ACP from Britain after establishing the internationally successful photography festival Fotofeis, faces an entirely different climate from the one into which the ACP was born twenty five years ago. Photography is no longer a young medium impatiently knocking on the doors of art. As an art practice its edges have long since dissolved into digital media, performance and installation. As a cultural phenomena photography is no longer constituted by the simple accumulation of all the individual photographs published in the media and pasted into our family albums, now photography is a temporal-spatial ‘effect’ which haunts all art. Photography is no longer just a cultural presence, it has become culture’s central nervous system. To Foster this makes the role of the ACP, an institution whose gravitational centre will remain photo-based art, more vital than ever.

Standing in the cavernous, Gyprocked white cube of the ACP’s new gallery, trying to ignore the echoing clatter of cutlery and crockery from the La Mensa cafe at the front of the building and the roar of traffic from Oxford Street, it certainly seems that in one sense the ACP has come a long way from its original cramped terrace-house rooms. In another sense it is in exactly the same position as it has always been: needing to justify itself to sceptical funding bodies, sponsors, and an undefinable constituency of photo-based artists who will be always asking “what has the ACP done for me?”

Martyn Jolly was a student intern at the ACP in 1981, worked as a curator there between 1985 and 1987, had one person shows there in 1988 and 1998, and  has served on various ACP committees and sub-committees since 1982. He still tries to visit whenever he is in Sydney.

Warming up the cold hard evidence: Place and identity, memory and history—and all those old photographs

‘Warming up the cold hard evidence: Place and identity, memory and history—and all those old photographs’, Exploring Culture and community for the 21st Century, Global Arts Link opening publication, Ipswich, 1999.

Places are built on shared histories. Identities are constructed from collective memories. Our sense of a collective past lays the foundation for our sense of location in the present. Increasingly, historic photographs (or films) are being called upon to provide the factual evidence for this shared past. Images have long been central to news reportage, but now they are essential to any retelling of history. Images have long been key repositories of personal memories; but now, through the mass media, in museum displays, and as part of public celebrations, they are becoming fundamental to collective memory as well.

The photographic image has contradictory qualities when it comes to its uncanny ability to document history and evoke memory. The historic photograph is intimately and completely of the past in a way no other written record or collected artefact can be. It is a direct optical and chemical impression of an actual scene from the past. Yet, in its ability to substitute its frozen tableau for the past, the photograph also raises the suspicion that it is casting us adrift from a full, rich experience of living memory and authentic history.

As a result of our technological development the past is all around us as never before—but only as an image. No longer do we experience the past in the form of spontaneous rituals, shared habits, or inter-generational knowledges passed down hand-to-hand and mouth-to-mouth.  Now we see the past as a myriad dislocated fragments: retro-styled images used to sell products or political parties, iconic media images perpetually reprinted or rebroadcast on every historic anniversary, huge on-line image data-bases with instantaneous touch-screen accessibility, old film clips shown as part of the manufactured nostalgia of ‘Where Are They Now’ TV shows, and so on. In the process of this massive eruption of the past into the present, images are swept away from their initial contexts, fictional and documentary sources are interchanged, films are re-sequenced, photographs are re-juxtaposed, and historic moments are morphed together into a lubricous phantasmagoria of yesterdays.

But ironically, just as photography and film have destroyed the orderly progression of time and our sense of embeddedness in tradition and history, so we are forced to rely on them more and more to return to us some sense of a stable place in history and collective memory. The last few decades have witnessed a memory boom like never before—from family genealogists searching through library microfiche for that elusive record of a distant ancestor, to cool retro-hipsters rummaging through market stalls for that perfect object from their favourite decade. Both are impelled by a sense of loss, a desire to not so much know their history, as to feel a palpable connection with the past, to set foot once more on a solid shore after the temporal turbulence of the present. To these amateur mnemonists the past is entirely about the present, it is a demonstrable alternative to it, a fantasy means of escape from it, and, most importantly, the place for perhaps meeting somebody, somewhere else in time, who is reaching out towards them.

In all of these processes the photographic image is fundamental. Historic photographs are performing more vital functions for collective identity than ever before. For instance personal photographs have long stood on mantelpieces in improvised household shrines to remembered dead and acknowledged ancestors, but now historic photographs also have the unprecedented privilege of being the centrepieces of virtually every official commemoration. In these public ceremonies official photographs are performing the same role for the nation, city or town, as the faded snapshot or sepia studio portrait does for the family.

In some instances they have even become literally monumentalised. Photographs have been etched into stone in Australian war monuments such as the Vietnam War Memorial, 1992, on Anzac Parade, Canberra; the Kokoda Memorial, 1996, in Concord, Sydney; and the Monash Memorial, 1998, in France. For most of this century the photograph, as a form of media reportage, has traded on the fact that it was able to pluck a fleeting instant out of the rush of time. But in the case of the Kodachrome slide which was cropped, enlarged to cinematic size, and etched into granite for the Vietnam War Memorial, the evanescent instant captured by the army public relations photographer has been literally turned into eternal stone. Within this commemorative context the shutter blade’s slice of time acquires not only an architectonic presence, but becomes the locus for the same contemplative temporal dilation as a roll call of the dead, or a minute’s silence.

Certain film and TV images also aggregate into lithic media presences through ritual repetition: every ANZAC day we are shown the same few seconds of weary feet pushing down through the mud of the Kokoda Track, or the same lone bugler against the sunrise. Repetition becomes the key factor in this commemorative use of images. Media images which are not repeated are not remembered. When media memory has substituted for our organic memory we cede over our ability to remember. Because images package up experiences of the past, they can just as easily be used to dispose of it as to retain it. (Remember how you were glued to the telly during the Gulf War? How much of it can you remember now?) Every photographic image is therefore a function of an archive, an archive in which photographs are much more likely to lie dormant and forgotten, as to be retrieved to reintroduce the past to the present.

Even counter-hegemonic memory relies on the evidential substrata of the photographic archive. Aboriginal Australians have long cherished a collective memory resistant to white forgetting. Their long term memories of invasion, dispossession and social destruction have evaded, over a period of generations, the deliberate attempts at extermination by both history and public memory. Their memories have so far survived organically: through individual transference hand-to-hand and mouth-to-mouth, and through stories, songs, and art. Recently photographic archives have also become crucial to Aboriginal counter memory. Photographs are being used to allow individuals to forensically retrace lost family. They are being used collectively to recreate and share a sense of larger blood ties. In this process anonymous ‘historic’ photographs of Aborigines, which were once part of the very process of colonial dispossession and which, like their subjects, were dispersed to various public collections, are being gathered, radically re-inflected, and imbued with the warmth of memory.

Many contemporary Aboriginal photographers have initiated a one-on-one dialogue with these mute survivors from the past. They have attempted to evade the colonial scrutiny of the original photographers, and the enforced pantomime of the subjects, to discover something that has long lain dormant in the image. By focussing on the returned gazes of their lost ancestors contemporary Aborigines are recognising a defiant challenge returned across the generations.

Many aboriginal artists directly incorporate historic photographs into their work. For instance in the exhibition Patterns of Connection 1990-91 Leah King-Smith used superimposition to liberate Aboriginal ancestors from the nineteenth century photographic collection of the State Library of Victoria and return them as ghostly presences to contemporary images of her own country; while in Native Blood 1994 Fiona Foley took upon her own living body the subjugated poses of her Badtjala people as photographed in the nineteenth century and collected by the Queensland Museum.

Whether one is consolidating an established sense of place and identity, or re-establishing such a sense after a history of dispossession or dislocation, the silent tableau of the photograph, itself cast adrift in time, is being desperately re-animated with the most important thing of all: our memories.

Martyn Jolly

The World War Two Experience. Multimedia in the new Australian War Memorial Galleries

‘Past Projections: multimedia in the new Australian War Memorial galleries’ Real Time 33, October/November, 1999.

The Australian War Memorial’s new WW11 galleries were opened in March this year, after a two and a half year development period at a cost of five million dollars. They replaced a venerable display which had been there since 1971, and have already been credited with increasing attendance by 35%.

The Memorial’s original function was to show grieving relatives the experiences their lost loved one’s had had overseas; to allow mates to remember mates; and to tell the story of a nation and its historical destiny. However its recent audience research indicated that it’s audience, and therefore its function, has now changed. Visitors now come to the Memorial from radically dispersed trajectories. Only 10% of visitors are old enough to have lived through WW11, and the ethnic composition of Australia has radically globalised in the fifty years since it was at war.

The purpose of the new display is no longer to reconnect relatives and friends, revive memories, and explain national destiny; it must now create experiences, generate memories and tell subjective stories. The Memorial is no longer the geologically hulking edifice at the bedrock of our common national identity, it is now one institutional attraction competing with others for audience share. The display therefore incorporates a much broader selection of artefacts and information, foregrounding a wider range of personal experiences from the War. And it also relies on multimedia and immersive technologies as never before—deploying over 100 audio, video and sensory devices. The objective of these technologies is to, in John Howard’s opening words, create “a very moving experience … to reach out to younger generations”.

Approaching the WW11 galleries you hear a cacophonous roar, a bit like a shopping mall on a Saturday morning. Entering the galleries there’s a sense of bombardment: sound leaks out from a multitude of hidden speakers and bounces from the many hard surfaces. (This problem is now being addressed) Ambient lighting is low and the objects on display are individually picked out by spotlights giving a visually fragmented, subjectively dislocated, feel to the display. Although there is an attempt to create quieter contemplative ‘pavilions’ and chapel-like spaces within the display, generally these cannot withstand the barrage.

The core of the display is the artefacts collected by the Memorial during the War and donated to it since. As always these provide the indexical charge to the display; but they are surrounded and harassed by technology. The display cases are crowded with flat screen TVs showing newsreel footage. Data projectors are extensively used to animate maps and models. Few objects are left to their own devices, to mutely exist in their own time. Even the dark wooden top of the table on which the surrender of Singapore was signed is used as an inappropriate screen for a newsreel projection.

The War Memorial produced it’s own content using audience focus groups, but outsourced the design and installation of the displays to Cunningham Martyn Design, Australian Business Theatre and multimedia consultant Gary Warner. Previously the memorial was a special experience for visitors, its unique model dioramas and uncanny, sepulchral atmosphere permanently marked many a childhood psyche. This new display is brighter and livelier certainly, but it also conforms to a standard corporate display style — the plate glass, steel rod look — that exists in any number of shops and museums. There is now a bigger phenomenological gap for visitors to cross between these didactic history displays and the sacred mnemonic heart of the Memorial — the cloisters and the Hall of Memory (into which Paul Keating conveniently inserted a pacemaker when he buried an Unknown Soldier  there in 1993). The Memorial’s original didacticism, the attempt to convey an historical understanding of war — however ideologically compromised — and to encourage a transference of empathy back across the generations, is being replaced by an attempt to technologically create a sense of immediate, individuated sensory experience.

Sometimes this works, if a sense of temporal distance is maintained, as in the disembodied voices of Australian POWs telling their stories in a reconstruction of an empty sleeping hut. But sometimes it doesn’t. The most problematic part of the display is a simulation of a bombing run over Germany in which the floor shakes as though by the airplane’s engines and we look down through the bomb bay doors at WW11 Europe sliding below. This recreates the fear felt by young Australian air force servicemen at being shot down. Reportedly, Returned WW11 air crew visiting a preview of the installation found it so affecting they had leave during the experience. Certainly the kids love it. But they love their experience of it is in the present. I didn’t see any emotional transference to, or identification with, the servicemen’s fear which this ‘ride’ was meant to commemorate. It was ironic, too, that the aspect of War chosen for the most ‘realistic’ simulation was the one where the original experience was already most virtual, remote, and technologically mediated.

For me a more successful use of technology was in the new Orientation Gallery where a large, looped, digital video of spectral diggers coming ashore at Gallipoli and fading into History to the thud of sniper bullets, which was projected behind an actual Gallipoli landing boat, created a suggestive atmosphere rather than a descriptive experience. It let the landing boat exist in its own historical time, rather than be dragged into a perpetual present of technological performance. The use of Digger ghosts (played by keen Memorial staff in costume shot against blue screen, then digitally montaged over video of the actual Gallipoli landing place by the Sydney firm Audience Motivation) grows from an evolving, long standing, visual tradition of ANZAC memory — for instance the freeze frame in Weir’s film Gallipoli and William Longstaff’s creepy Menin Gates painting.

Clearly the displays of national museums do need to changes as audiences change.  And clearly technologies of video, projection and simulation must inevitably play a major part in these changes. Particularly as so much of our past is know to us through film and video anyway, and technologies have always been excellent at producing phantasmagoric spectacles and virtual spectres. Yet technology must still be made to do what it has only partially done at the War Memorial: create historical knowledge not just immediate experience; and leave a space for viewers to make an imaginative leap and project themselves into time, rather than be the passive screens for a dislocated series of projections from the past.

Martyn Jolly

Martyn Jolly is Head of Photomedia at the ANU Canberra School of Art

Max Dupain’s Sunbaker

‘Sunbaker: The making of an icon’, in the catalogue to Signature Works, Australian Centre for Photography, May, 1999. 

Few images in Australia today are as recognisable as Max Dupain’s Sunbaker, 1937. Certainly no other Australian image, be it a painting, graphic or photograph, is as often parodied, pastiched or quoted. Perhaps only monuments such as the Opera House, Harbour Bridge or Uluru have a greater presence within Australia’s repertoire of national icons.

The sunbaker represents the Australian nation as a whole, but he also sensuously embodies each of our own individual relationships to Australia as a place: our fond memories of its summers, its beaches, its ‘lifestyle’. And, of course, he is a gendered icon: the sunbaker’s Australia is a place for the autochthonic pleasures of men. The sunbaker’s iconicity is splendidly conflicted: is the sun beneficent or carcinogenic, is he at rest or in a stupor, will he ever share the beach that he claims with others?

At the end of his life Dupain was heartily sick of the Sunbaker. He realised that the manifold meanings it was generating were drawing it out from under the mantle of his authorship. He was bemused that it had slipped into visual domains other than his own, for instance that it was even gaining currency within an emerging gay sensibility.

The Sunbaker has been Dupain’s image since 1937, when he quickly made two negatives of his close friend Harold Salvage during a holiday to the South Coast. It has only really been Australia’s image since 1975, when it began its rapid ascent into national iconicity as Dupain himself was suddenly produced onto the Australian cultural stage as a major modernist artist. It was on the poster of his first retrospective at the Australian Centre for Photography, it was subsequently published by two photography magazines and by the National Gallery of Australia on the back cover of a 1979 exhibition catalogue, and it was central to the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ 1980 retrospective curated by Gael Newton.

Prior to 1975 the two negatives had sat untouched in Dupain’s negative files for thirty years. A print from the other negative was published in Dupain’s relatively obscure monograph of 1948. That print was darker, and its composition more grounded, stolid and heavy than the high tensile form suspended in the bright grey field with which we are familiar from the 1970s prints. Ironically this second negative, and its print, have now been lost. Previous to this monograph the image only existed as a contact print amongst other snapshots in a personal album assembled for his friends as a souvenir of their coast holiday.

The Sunbaker has come a long way, yet it remains simultaneously a private snapshot and public icon. The sunbaker is still embedded in time, but his time is now a multiple exposure of a changing Australia.


Gael Newton, ‘”It was a simple affair”: Max Dupain Sunbaker’ in Lynne Seear and Julie Ewington, eds. Australian Art Brought to Light 1850-1965 from the Queensland Art Gallery Collection, Queensland Art Gallery , Brisbane: 1998 pp142-7.

Geoffrey Batchen, “Creative Actuality; The photography of Max Dupain”, Art Monthly, pp2-5


Karsh Exhibition Talk notes, 1999

Sontag quote, the blurriest photograph of Shakespeare would be a greater object than the most detailed drawing.

Karsh’s portraits have the verisimilitude of the photograph, but they are also overtly artificial as well, obviously highly lit and studio based, they therefore also refer to the grandeur and tradition and gravitas of traditional painted portraits. In the enlarged portraits the epidermal texture and microscopic detail becomes equivalent to the oily, lubricous gloss of the painted portrait.

His style: a general low toned flat chiaroscuro, accented by a high, key light, focussed from high above and behind the sitter. (Or sometimes a high window). Often a light is placed behind he sitter to give them a subtle penumbra which lifts them off the background. (We can see this lighting set up reflected in Eisenhower’s globe, Le Courbousier’s glasses, and Laurence Olivier’s Whisky glass.

This gives  a general authoritative background, from which the sitter literally shines forth.

It also guarantees that the image will leap off the page, even if the printing is quite poor.

It also adds a real facial tactility to the images we are aware of the texture of skin and hair, pores and bristles.

Karsh’s subject is power, he was fascinated by it. The catalogue asks: are portraits windows to the soul, or masks of personality. I don’t find this either/or formulation particularly useful, I prefer to think of these portraits as almost collaborations between photographer and sitter, a theatrical performance where an agreed embodiment of a persona is enacted within the photographers mis-en-scene. Although Karsh would often proclaim that he wanted to capture that brief moment when the subject’s mask slips, he also once admitted that he was  “influenced by the by the public image …. by the living legend”. Nothing would stop him from creating an image of what he saw to be the public greatness of the sitter

Karsh set up his lights and his large format camera, before hand, and then invited the sitter in. He was well known for his charming manner, and his general amiable complicity with the wishes of his clients. After taking several, or many exposure, within the relatively tight spatial constraints of the ‘stage’ set up by the lighting, the session was complete.

Karsh’s portraits are the opposite of snapshots. The sitter appears to have temporarily interrupted their labours of changing the world, and to have entered some higher temporal plane: they appear to be out of the flow of everyday time, and embedded in transcendental, eternal history.

As I have said the key to all of Karsh’s portraits is the high key light.

There are symbolic associations of this high key light:

the light of divinity, inspiration, vision.

The other two elements Karsh always pays attention to are the hands and the eyes.

In the eyes we can see a taxonomy of Karsh’s idea of the types of power:

Eyes can be staring back at the camera if the sitter is a ‘defiant doer’ : Churchill
They can be just looking slightly to the side of the viewer if they are a ‘fantasising dreamer’ but kind and good: Warhol, Kenny, Kowabata
They can be staring up and off if the are a ‘visionary dreamer’: Kennedy, King
They can be closed altogether if the sitter is on another spiritual plane altogether: Ravi Shankar, Carl Jung
Or they can be staring at their work as if pre-occupied by the burdens of their greatness: Eisenhower

Hands are always doing something: holding a tool, cradling a chin, even in repose hands are still in dialogue with eyes, signifying serenity. Hands, like the face, for Karsh also bear inscriptions, of age, delicacy, work. Sometimes gesture can have specific intertextual references. Sister Kenny’s hand is extended in a Christ—like  gesture drawn from popular Catholic iconography. It is ironic that lately Sister Kenny’s work with polio has been thoroughly discredited, and her personal ‘saintliness’ questioned.

Karsh also used the background to ad extra information to the portrait.

Sometimes this seem very forced and banal, as in the line of telephones behind Marshal McLuhan, the famous theorist of mass media. At other times it is very economical: the plain white background Sir Edmund Hilary, his wind blown hair, and the toggles on his windcheater all subtly recreate mount Everest within a lighting studio.

Another occasional trick of Karsh was to casualise his sitters, perhaps to signify that we were closer to the ‘real’ person, and to draw attention to their bodies out of the familiar uniform of the suit. Jumpers were particularly popular, perhaps because the also gave a pleasing texture: Einstein, Hemmingway etc.

Winston Churchill on the cover of Saturday Night in 1942. Became instantly popular, became iconic of Churchill and British bulldog pluck. In this photo we have the seamless integration of Churchill’s physical bulk, his theatrical expression of angry resolve, and the intertextual reference to the bulldog in his face. The story goes that Karsh got this by suddenly taking away Churchill’s cigar (this sudden intervention is very atypical of Karsh, who normally manipulated his sitters by collusion, complements, complicity and charm), ironically, without his personal political trademark he became more of a suprapolitical, national trademark.

Karsh was commissioned by illustrated magazines like Life, and advertising agencies like J. Walter Thompson. The images only began to migrate from the mass media to the museum and gallery in the 1980s. The use of his work migrated from the media reportage to a more ceremonial use, on medallions, stamps etc. Some of the images seem to contain this end use within their very construction. For instance the shot of the three Apollo 11 astronauts is designed almost like a logo.

Karsh’s classic cold war portraits belong to a particular mass media period. Power brokers were aware of, and masters, of media image making as never before. The photographic image was powerful, but it was controlled by the powerful. The situation has changed now. We no longer are familiar with our leaders through their idealised, legendary portrayal as grand historical actors separated from the flux of time. We now see them, visually, going through every agonistic paroxysm that goes with the process of leadership: every chance grimace, blink or stumble is shot by the attendant press pack and used by newspapers to add editorial colour. For every studio portrait of a noble John Howard we see a thousand newspaper images of him looking querulous, tremulous, or petulant. For every glamour shot of a movie star we see a thousand paparazzi telephoto lens shots of them doing something they’ll come to regret.

Karsh’s portraits are absolutely public portraits of public personas. But now the boundaries of pubic and private have eroded for the great and the powerful. Kennedy’s White House sexual escapades belong to history, Clinton’s much less audacious sexual escapades belonged instantaneously to public circulation. The powerful claim that they have become the property of the photographers, whereas in Karsh’s day he was most certainly the faithful servant of the powerful. The obvious example is Princess Diana, literally shot to death by photographers. Her visual place in historical memory not a regal studio portrait, but a pornographic kaleidoscopic melange of the thousands and thousands of images we have seen of her and her car wreck and her funeral.

The image of the 1960s is polarised: the great iconic images of great men on the one hand, and the great journalistic icons on the other: the dead student at kent State University, the napalmed child in Vietnam. These poles have now collapsed.

For this reason it is hard to imagine Karsh’s style of portraiture having any contemporary currency, and certainly the more contemporary images in this exhibition are the weakest. Few leaders could now be ‘Karshed’ and have the elevated charisma of greatness to wear the mantle. I can only think of two, Nelson Mandela and Saddam.

Paper delivered at Power Institute of Fine Arts Post graduate Conference 1999

Why do so many urban Aboriginal photographers re-use old photographs in their work?

In the last decade there has been a flowering of Aboriginal photography, mostly by urban Aborigines. Before the eighties there were very few active Aboriginal photographers – Mervyn Bishop is virtually the only example. During the course of the eighties, as Bishop’s own career came to be recognised, a few other Aboriginal photographers also came to prominence: most spectacularly Tracey Moffatt, but also Michael Riley, Brenda Croft and Ricky Maynard. But in the nineties there has been a veritable explosion. As the recent National Gallery of Australia exhibition Re-take makes clear there has also been a general change in the style of Aboriginal art photography in the 90s: away from a relatively straightforward, but in no sense naive, documentary style – as was used by the Aboriginal contributors to the Bicentennial After Two Hundred Years book, and in the Aboriginal documentation of the Bicentennial protests – and towards a more postmodern, theoretically savvy, ‘art school’ style.

This explosion parallels similar explosions of urban Aboriginal creativity in painting, film and theatre. But more importantly it also parallels a growth in Aboriginal history telling, inaugurated by Marcia Langton’s ‘After the Tent Embassy’, much of which relied on archival photographs.1 As well this explosion accompanies a ratcheting up of the pitch of popular debate about Aboriginal issues and in particular our ethical responsibility to the history and memory of race relations in Australia. Those fateful few words – Mabo, Wik and The Stolen Children – not only resonate plangently in our historical consciousness, but have also planted a specific array of images in our collective visual consciousness: the bearded Mabo himself, barefooted kids in orphanages, etc.

It is perhaps not surprising, then, that contemporary urban Aboriginal photography is characterised by two things: a wordiness, a play or struggle with the weight of words – both English and Aboriginal; and the re-use of old photographs – both historical documents and family snapshots.

Just a quick roll call of the Aboriginal photographers who have, at some time or other re-used old photographs: Leah King-Smith, Brook Andrew, Rea, Julie Gough, Fiona Foley and the painter Gordon Bennet have all directly copied and re-used archival museum and gallery photographs; Fiona Foley and the early Tracey Moffatt have renegotiated their relationship to these ‘received’ images by some kind of performative response in the present; Brenda Croft, Destiny Deacon and Gordon Bennet have directly re-used family snapshots in their work. Received styles or retro atmospheres are also evoked by late period Tracey Moffatt, Destiny Deacon and Brenda Croft.

This is not unique to Aboriginal photography. Old photographs, both personal and historic, and retro atmospheres, both oppressive and kitsch, haunt contemporary photography globally. In particular migrant artists, say for instance Elizabeth Gertsakis, have used old photographs to talk about their dislocation from the past and their, at least partial, alienation from a present which still marginalises their heritage. Many settled white artists, such as say Narelle Jubelin or Fiona MacDonald, also reuse old photographs to talk about general issues of post colonialism in Australia and elsewhere. But then, as Andreas Huysman’s points out, today everybody is dislocated from their past, it is part of our general millennial condition in which we have been cast adrift by the multitude of twentieth century geopolitical diasporas, and muffled by mediating technologies which make historical consciousness and collective memory vicarious experiences.2

The question is, is Aboriginal photography just one further instance of this? Is it a more politically intense instance? Or is it fundamentally different? Certainly few peoples have been so brutally dislocated from their past as Australian Aborigines. And they have long used photography both symbolically and forensically to find their past. Many personal narratives of historical discovery use family snapshots. And several Australian museums now take a proactive role in using their collections to re-forge individual historical connections. For instance the South Australian Museum’s Aboriginal Community and Family History Unit helps Aboriginal people learn more about their families and communities using photographs originally taken by Norman Tindale and Joseph Birdsell and held in the Museum’s Anthropology Archives. 3

However the irony is, that unlike a white person using family snaps as aide memoires at a family reunion or historical images as a forensic genealogical clues, Aboriginal seekers after their family history are often using anthropological photographs that were not made to document individuals, but to identify anthropological types; and not as systematic social records, but as fragmented scientific specimens. They were taken not to confirm historical presence, but to preserve a record in order to posthumously confirm the historical extinction of the original.

A current newspaper cliché is the photograph of an elderly mnemonist either mournfully cradling a photograph from the past, or holding it up in a grim parody of an institutional identity board. The aetiology of this image goes back to Daguerreotype mourning portraits, but I think the current craze in Australian newspapers probably began with images of Aborigines from the stolen generation. Now the visual cliché is used more generally to picture any kind of poignant memory particularly, for some reason, that of war widows. However the Aboriginal images remain the most effective, again because the photographs which are held up were instrumental, not incidental to history. It is perhaps this bitter irony that makes the symbolic use of old photos in urban Aboriginal art, and the forensic use of old photographs by Aboriginal people of the stolen generation, qualitatively different from migrant or mainstream uses of old photographs.

To Gordon Bennet perspective itself is politically implicated. In 1993 he said:

“perspective may be seen as symbolic of a certain kind of power structure relating to a particular European world view … Aborigines caught in this system of representation remain ‘frozen’ as objects within the mapped territory of a European perceptual grid.”4

Lately the anthropological portrait has been held up as not only the theoretical paradigm of colonial attempts at genocide, but also an act of violence technically akin to, and part of, of the very process of that attempted genocide.

Therefore the photographs used by urban Aboriginal photographers are not monuments, they do not commemorate an historical closure on the past. In a way they are anti-monuments, images of unquiet ghosts who refuse to rest in their graves. There is a feeling of active dialogue with the past, a two way corridor through time, almost a voodoo quality, or a sense of New Age channelling. Brenda Croft in her Barthesian meditation on nineteenth century colonial Aboriginal photographs “Laying Ghosts To Rest”, accompanying Portraits of Oceania, comes closest to articulating this feeling. She allows herself the indulgence of retroactively investing the agency of political resistance in the portraits when she says:

“Images like these have haunted me since I was a small child and … [and] were instrumental in guiding me to use the tools of photography in my work.” […] “The haunted faces of our ancestors challenge and remind us to commemorate them and acknowledge their existence, to help lay them, finally, to rest.” 5

Clare Williamson, in discussing Leah King-Smith’s exhibition Patterns of Connection in which archival photographs are superimposed on landscapes, describes how King-Smith pictorially, rather than rhetorically, invests the images with the same ability to project the past into the present. She says:

“It is instructive to examine King-Smith’s imagery alongside the historical images which are her sources. These small black and white photograph’s ‘contain’ their aboriginal subjects as objects which can be held in the hand, collected, stored and viewed at will. Their placement of the figure within a fabricated European (or a constructed ‘native’ one), and set well back from the picture plane, creates a gulf between viewer and subject, and an inequitable relationship in favour of the viewer. King-Smith reverses the order. Large colour saturated images ‘impress’ the viewer. The figures are brought right to the picture plane, seemingly extending beyond the frame and checking our gaze with theirs.”6

Brook Andrew invests the bodies of his nineteenth century subjects, released from the closet of the past, not only with a libidinous body image inscribed within the terms of contemporary media and contemporary ‘liberated’ masculinity, but also with defiant Barbara Krugeresque slogans such as “I Split Your Gaze”. Some of these works also attempt to reverse the relationship of subject and object in the nineteenth century colonial portrait along the trajectory of the gaze, and to make the contemporary viewer the subject of a defiant, ambiguous gaze returned from history.

Even when the contemporary Aboriginal artist’s body ritualistically and purgatorially takes on colonial subjugation, the historic photograph and, more significantly, the alignment of gazes, is still the vitalising channel of connection. In her reading of Fiona Foley’s reinactments of the colonial photographs of her Badtjala ancestors, Olu Oguibe describes how the trans-historical objectifying gaze is made to rebound off Foley’s obdurate, physical body:

“In Foley’s photographs the Other makes herself available, exposes herself, invites our gaze if only to re-enact the original gaze, the original violence perpetrated on her. She does not disrupt this gaze nor does she return it. She recognises that it is impossible to return the invasive gaze, that what purports to be a return gaze is only a mimicry. Instead Foley forces the gaze to blink, exposes it to itself.”7

In these contemporary uses of the colonial photograph the original intention and function of the photographer is evacuated. We find ourselves in his empty shoes, shuttling back and forth along a two way channel formed along the alignment of the two interlocking gazes of sitter and viewer, object and subject, past and present. This gives the Aboriginal use of old photographs a different valency to equivalent uses of old photographs by migrant or long-term settler photographers. Yet, nonetheless, a sense of this channelling pervades all the contemporary uses of old photographs, and is intensified in Aboriginal use.

At this point my narrative frays into loose ends. How to think this Aboriginal re-use of old photographs? And in particular, for my purposes, how to think it in terms of history and collective memory, and the photograph itself as a mnemonic artefact? Below I list some references which I have found suggestive, and which might provide a direction for further theoretical research.

One approach may be to explore the photograph’s magical qualities of mimesis. Michael Taussig, in Mimesis and Alterity, describes ‘primitive’ uses of mimetic magic among the Cuna Indians, which he suggestively refigures in a postcolonial context by equating it to Benjamin’s notion of an ‘optical unconscious’ which can from time to time produces flashes of a ‘profane illumination’. Taussig uses the two laws of sympathetic magic derived from George Frazer’s The Golden Bough: the law of similarity, in which like produces like; and the law of contagion, in which things which have once been in contact continue to act on each other. By ritualistically running back up these channels of sympathetic connection the magician is able to reverse the flow of fact to thought and thing to image, and produce effects in the real world by mimesis. In Taussig’s formulation photographs are ‘mimetically capacious’ technologies. Their indexicality gives sight the ‘bodily impact’ and the ‘phsiognomic effect’ of a ‘tactile vision’. He quotes Benjamin:

“Only when in technology body and image so interpenetrate that all revolutionary tension becomes bodily collective innervation, and all the bodily innervations of the collective become revolutionary discharge, has reality transcended itself to the extent demanded by the Communist Manifesto.’8

In a less utopian and more strategic way, perhaps contemporary Aboriginal photographers are using old photographs to innervate themselves with historical tension Using the mimetic indexicality of the photograph, and the interpenetration of the photograph with both historical and lived bodies, the shaman/photographer reverses the flow of time and answers the call of the dead.

All this talk of shamans and magic is not as whacky as it sounds. The metaphor of the photograph as a ghost image is commonplace, and used by both Kracauer and Benjamin in their influential discussions of photography. There is also general agreement that the images of Aborigines used by these photographs are ‘ghostly’, and haunt the contemporary viewer. Indeed the body politic of Australia as a whole has long been haunted by the ‘Spectre of Truganini’. In their book Uncanny Australia Ken Gelder and Jane Jacobs use Australian ghost stories to describe the uncanniness of Australia’s relationship to Aboriginal spirituality. In postcolonial terms they see hauntings as a productive occurrence:

“‘Ghosts’ simply could not function in a climate of sameness, in a country which fantasises about itself as ‘one nation’ or which imagines a utopian future of ‘reconciliation’ in which … all the ghosts have been laid to rest. But neither can they function in a climate of nothing but difference, where the one can never resemble the other, as in a ‘divided’ nation. A structure in which sameness and difference solicit each other, spilling over each other’s boundaries only to return again to their respective places, moving back and forward in an unpredictable, even unruly manner … : this is where the ‘ghosts’ which may cause us to ‘smile’ or to ‘worry’ continue to flourish.”9

At the very least Aboriginal ghosts remind Australia that there is unfinished business. Raymond Williams makes a distinction between the archaic and the residual, the ‘residual’ for Raymond Williams is “still active in the political process”. These photographs cannot be monuments because they are still left over from the past, residual to history.10  The idea of ghosts soliciting the fickle memory of a too self-absorbed, too quickly forgetful later generation also scans across to the role of ANZAC ghosts in Australian collective memory. Examples are Will Dyson’s famous cartoon A Voice From Anzac of 1927 where two ghostly Anzacs, left on the beach at Gallipoli, receive solace from hearing, across the oceans, the marching feet of their returned comrades on Anzac day. Another example is Longstaff’s Menin Gates 1927. (More recent examples are the eerie freeze frame at the end of Peter Weir’s film Gallipoli, and the digital ghosting used in a video projection behind a Gallipoli landing boat in the Australian War Memorial’s new Orientation Gallery.)

There is a hint of this cross scan in a recent series of photographs by Darren Siwes. By ghosting himself standing to attention in a series of night photographs taken around Adelaide, he seems to be referring to an Aboriginal haunting, but he also evokes a feeling of an Anzac memorial statue.

The idea of the artist shaman also has contemporary currency in the New Age movement. New Agers have often appropriated Aboriginal spirituality, and at the same time contemporary Aboriginals and New Agers are occasionally fellow travellers.11  Leah King-Smith is explicitly New Age. She concludes her artist’s statement by asking that: “… people activate their inner sight to view Aboriginal people.”12   Her work animistically gives the museum photographs she re-uses a spiritualist function. Referring to Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak?”, Anne Marsh describes this as a ‘strategic essentialism’. She says:

“There is little doubt, in my mind, that Leah King-Smith is a kind of New Age evangelist and many serious critics will dismiss her work on these grounds. Others will point to the artist’s misplaced desire to represent Aboriginal Australia: to talk for the subaltern, as it were. But I am interested in why the images are so popular and how they tap into a kind of cultural imaginary and use the mythology of photography’s syntax … to conjure the ineffable. …  Leah King-Smith’s figures resonate with a constructed aura: the skin which is shed onto the photographic plate is given an enhanced ethereal quality through the use of mirrors and projections. The ‘mirror with a memory’ comes alive as these ancestral ghosts, already simulacra in their Anglo costumes, seem to drift through the landscape as a seamless version of nineteenth century spirit photography.”13

The role of performance is also important to these photographs. In discussing the Bringing Them Home report on the Stolen Generation of 1997, John Frow comments that the report supplements the standard historiographic citation of the past with collaged-in fragments of first-person testimony. Frow uses De Certeau’s discription of historiographic citation which allows the past to lend an effect of reality that validates historical knowledge in the present. Through citation the present makes the past intelligible, but also separates past from present. Collage on the other hand gives the past direct effectively and answerability within the present. In the Stolen Generations inquiry the unmediated, cathartic, performed testimony of witnesses allows the past to report on the present, just as the present is supposedly meant to be soberly reporting on the past.14

Similarly, in their re-use of old photographs, Aboriginal photographers do not cite them, or ‘appropriate’ them, so much as collage them into the present, using them to demand an answer from the present. They are trying not to so much appropriate them across culture, as collage them across time. They ‘re-perform’ the old photograph in the present in order to generate this sense of temporal collage. It might be this need to re-perform which gives many of these photographs their overwrought feeling. They seem histrionic, melodramatic, and pictorially overproduced – as though urban aboriginal photographers have to try very hard to ritualistically get in touch with their ancestors. They use an excessive bricolage of special effects verging on the banal to generate a sense of connection. An important aspect of their success or failure is the supplementation of the viewer’s own politically strategic sense of shame, our desire as good (white) liberals to say ‘sorry’, which we bring to the image.

The question I am therefore left with is: just how strategic is this Aboriginal flirtation with the magic of old photographs. Are they, whilst being made politically active in the present, kept in a dialectical relationship to it? After all photographs of long dead Aborigines are, in fact, merely insubstantial ghosts, they are not the Aborigines themselves. Are contemporary Aboriginal photographers hijacking  the past for their own politico/aesthetic ends? In their attempts to break through the historicist impasse that tragically freezes contemporary Australian political discourse, are they collapsing time itself into a banal fantasy of strategic presentness?

Martyn Jolly

1. Catherine De Lorenzo, ‘Delayed Exposure: Contemporary Aboriginal Photography’, Art In Australia, 1997, 35, 1,

2. Andreas Huyssen, Twilight  Memories: Marking time in a culture of amnesia, New York and London, Routledge, 1995, , Introduction pp3-9

3See also the Berndt Collection in the Western Australian Museum, and the exhibition Portraits of our Elders by the Queensland Museum. . Michael Aird, Portraits of our Elders, Brisbane, Queensland Museum, 1993,

4. Gordon Bennett, ‘Aesthetics and Iconography: an artist’s approach’, Aratjara: Art of the First Australians, Dusseldorf, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 1993,

5. Brenda L. Croft, ‘Laying ghosts to rest’, Portraits of Oceania, Judy Annear, Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1997,  p9, 14

6. Clare Williamson, ‘Leah King-Smith: Patterns of Connection’, Colonial Post Colonial, Melbourne, Museum of Modern Art at Heide, 1996,  p46

7. Olu Oguibe, ‘Medium and Memory in the Art of Fiona Foley’, Third Text, 1995-96, Winter 1995-96, ,  pp58-59

8. Michael Taussig, Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses, New York, Routledge, 1993,  p58

9. Ken Gelder and Jane M.Jacobs, Uncanny Australia: Sacredness and Identity in a Postcolonial Nation, Melbourne University Press, 1998, p42

10 Raymond Williams “Dominant, Residual and Emergent”, Marxism and Literature, Oxford University Press, 1977. Quoted in . Ken Gelder and Jane M.Jacobs, Uncanny Australia: Sacredness and Identity in a Postcolonial Nation, Melbourne University Press, 1998, p18

11. L. R. Hiatt, ‘A New Age for an Old People’, Quadrant, 1997, 16, 337,

12. Leah King-Smith, ‘Statement’, Patterns of Connection, Melbourne, Victorian Centre for Photography, 1992,

13. Anne Marsh, ‘Leah King-Smith and the Nineteenth century Archive’, History of Photography, 1999, 23, 2,  p117

14. John Frow, ‘The Politics of Stolen Time’, Meanjin, 1998, 57, 2,