From Sharne Wolff…
Unlike many other artists of his time, well-known Australian modernist photographer Max Dupain only managed one visit to Europe during his career. This came about in 1978, when he accompanied the late architect, Harry Seidler, to Paris to photograph the newly completed Seidler-designed Australian Embassy.
When they returned to Australia, Dupain presented Seidler with an album of 21 photographs he’d taken during their trip. This exhibition of Dupain’s handmade prints from the original album demonstrates Dupain’s versatility behind the lens. While many shots are of 18th and 19th century Parisian landmarks, such as those of the elegant balustrade of the Pont Alexandre III or the mythical statues of the Grand Palais, others are more characteristic of Dupain’s formal interest in composition and focus on the grand streetscapes and staircases of Hausemann’s modern city. Several candid shots are also included in the mix. Untitled (Les Invalides) pictures an old man walking through a shadowy portico allowing Dupain plenty of freedom to play with light and dark contrasts, while in Untitled (Group of People near the Eiffel Tower) Dupain’s low angled shot closely captures a group of tourists as they stand beneath the Tower. In 1991, Dupain noted, “I like to involve myself in… a small area geographically and work it out, as simple as that”.
Until August 31
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Pic: Max Dupain Untitled (group of people near the Eiffel Tower), from The Paris ‘private’ series, 1978, gelatin silver photograph, 30.2 x 32.8 cm image/sheet.