Max DUPAIN, The floater Enlarge 1 /1


Australia 1911 – 1992

The floater 1939 Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Primary Insc: signed verso, u.c., blue pen and ink, "- Max Dupain -"; not dated titled verso, u.c., blue pen and ink, "FLOATER"
Dimensions: printed image 39.3 h x 45.8 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1979
Accession No: NGA 79.55

Two versions of this image of a woman floating in water were printed by Dupain, so like Sunbaker it held particular interest for him. It acknowledges one of the great moments in avant-garde photography, André Kertész’s iconic study of underwater distortion Underwater swimmer (1917). As with Kertész, Dupain’s interest was with the visual effects created by light hitting the water and the impact of this on the contours of the swimmer. In his personal copy of the anthology Modern Photography (1931), Dupain highlighted the writer G.H. Saxon Mills’ claim that photography’s value existed in both its capacity to record the world and the optical effects it found or created – ‘its … symphony of forms and textures.’

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra