Max Dupain 100
Friday 22 April marks the 100th birthday of one of Australia’s best-known photographers, Max Dupain, and a new display at the State Library is exposing younger generations in particular to his most iconic and mesmerising work.
Max Dupain (1911-1992) was one of Australia’s leading modernist artists. He is renowned for his defining photographs of Sydney and Australia, and he devoted much of his life to capturing its people, at work and at play.
The new State Library display, Max Dupain 100, offers an intimate look at 30 enduring images, selected from the past five exhibitions held at the Library.
“Images like Sunbaker and Bondi, 1939 are synonymous with Australia’s beach culture, and Dupain’s striking architectural photography became more famous than the buildings themselves,” says curator Avryl Whitnall.
“This display is in many ways aimed at introducing the Gen Y crowd to Dupain’s internationally renowned legacy, and his timeless images are just as cutting edge today as they were in his heyday.”
At age 13 Max Dupain was given a Brownie Box camera, and by the age of 23 he had set up his own commercial studio in Sydney, where he undertook fashion photography, portraiture and illustrative photography.
Influenced by the New Photography movement in Germany, Max Dupain broke with the soft-focus, painterly tradition of the time and produced abstract industrial landscapes. His personal photographs from the mid 1930s — such as the iconic Sunbaker (1937) — were a revolution.
In the 1950s his commercial and advertising photography flourished and from the 1960s, Dupain began to specialise in architectural photography. With his straightforward approach and dramatic use of light, he soon developed an impressive clientele, including Harry Seidler and Glen Murcutt.
Driven by passion and self-discipline, Dupain continued to work until his death, producing over 100,000 negatives of commercial work and 30,000 personal images. Dupain’s work is among the highlights of the State Library’s unrivalled Australian photographic collection.
“We’ve created a simple and intimate space in a refreshed wing of the Library’s Macquarie Street building for visitors to view these iconic works,” says Ms Whitnall.
Max Dupain 100 is a boutique display located at the State Library of NSW, Level 1 corridor, Macquarie St building. On show until 31 December. Inquiries: (02) 9273 1414