Australia 1911 – 1992

Design - suburbia 1933 Place made: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph Support: cream matt textured photographic paper

Primary Insc: signed and dated on backing sheet l.r., pen and ink "- Max Dupain '33 -" titled on backing sheet l.l., pen and ink "Design - Suburbia"
Dimensions: printed image 29.4 h x 23.6 w cm sheet 29.4 h x 23.6 w cm backing sheet 33.0 h x 26.8 w
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1982
Accession No: NGA 82.1061
  • This early image proudly displays the influence of the work of pictorialist photographers that Dupain knew well, most notably the Sydney-based photographer, Harold Cazneaux. At the time Dupain made this image, he was serving an apprenticeship in the commercial studio of Cecil Bostock, a Pictorialist and founding member with Cazneaux of the Sydney Camera Circle in 1916. Dupain’s interest in the pictorial effects created by light passing through apertures (here, the posts and beams of a suburban fence) seems to remember similar images of light streaming through blinds and pergolas by Cazneaux, who Dupain called ‘the father of modern Australian photography’. The fascination with capturing light as it passes through openings will stay with Dupain throughout his life, though the focus will sharpen as he moves away from the diffused effects favoured by art photographers in the early decades of the century.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra