Thursday 4 June 2009

Snapshots - 10

Max Dupain's 1937 photograph Sunbaker has to be one of Australia's most loved photographs. It is the total opposite of a snapshot and was very carefully planned. Here is a link to an image of the print at the National Gallery of Australia

The Gallery writes about it:

'The sunbaker is completely relaxed and at one with the land. He lies with his
back exposed to the sun, seawater and sweat sparkling on his skin. Dupain used a
low-angle shot, which transforms the simple shapes of the man’s oval head and
triangular torso into a mountain-like outcrop set against the horizon.'
No one has ever noted that the silhouetted form of the guy is directly comparable to that primeval symbol of Australia - Uluru (Ayers Rock).

In New Zealand, we do not yet have a single image that unites New Zealand identity with a picture of the beach. Our vision of the beach is not of a singular nature, I think we see the beach as a place where a lot of people gather. This casual snap dates from about 1925 and is interesting to me because it really feels as if has definitely been taken by a woman. I really like the way that one of the guys has taken his work truck to the seaside with his male and female friends. The opposite to Dupain's great worm's eye point of view, it is still shot low down from the hip.

On Sunday 7 June at 1pm I will talk about Snapshots - The Vernacular in New Zealand Photography in the Gallery's Art Lounge.

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