New Zealand 1878 – Australia 1953
Slag dump, Newcastle 1934 Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph, sepia-toned gelatin silver photograph
Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP), commissioned Harold Cazneaux to photograph their steel works at Newcastle in New South Wales in the mid 1930s. By that time he was established as one of the finest and most highly regarded portrait and landscape photographers in Australia. Although Cazneaux had photographed commerce on Darling Harbour and in the Pyrmont Marshalling Yards as early as 1909 his choice was surprising – there was a younger generation of photographers who had enthusiastically embraced the industrial subjects associated with Modernism. The photographs he produced are certainly reminiscent of an earlier, more heroic era and yet they are remarkably atmospheric and beautifully composed images for all that.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra