Australia 1911 – 1992

Sun dazzle 1935 Place made: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Primary Insc: signed and dated l.r., pencil "- Max Dupain '35 -" titled l.l., pencil "Sun dazzle"
Dimensions: printed image 11.8 h x 16.2 w cm sheet 19.4 h x 20.7 w cm backing card 34.9 h x 29.6 w
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1982
Accession No: NGA 82.1071
  • The rather flirtatious title of this photograph works in two ways: the subject is literally ‘dazzled’ by light streaming through lattice work, while the photograph itself could be seen as a (decidedly erotic) study of sun ‘dazzling’. Like the slightly later Jean with wire mesh, this photograph makes clear Dupain’s interest in the visual effects created when light passes through an opening and hits a surface, an interest he certainly shared with Cotton. It is an effect he most certainly gleaned from the work of the surrealist photographer Man Ray, and the German photographer Edmund Kesting’s images of dappled shadows cast on bodies from the mid-1920s, which Dupain saw in the publication Modern Photography. With its clearly stated interest in what G.H. Saxon Mills called, in a line which Dupain certainly took to heart, the ‘beautiful relations of light and form’ caught by the ‘camera-eye’, Sun dazzle acts as an analogy for the way the camera sees the world.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra