Max DUPAIN, View from my studio in afternoon light Enlarge 1 /1


Australia 1911 – 1992

View from my studio in afternoon light 1941 Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Primary Insc: signed & dated recto, l.r., pencil, "- Max Dupain '41 -" titled recto, l.l., pencil, "View from my studio in afternoon light"
Dimensions: printed image 36.5 h x 31.6 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1982
Accession No: NGA 82.1119

Dupain was keenly aware of how the camera sees and finds beauty in the world. The bird’s-eye view – one of modernist photography’s most widely adopted pictorial strategies – was a perspective that he returned to throughout his career. It is a viewpoint that lends both drama and, with its uncanny convergence of lines, a strong graphic quality to the composition: as he later explained, ‘I’ve always been interested in the dramatic pictorially’. All the same, the wide tonal range in this image, cast by the afternoon light, softens its strong linearity. Both Dupain and Cotton made a number of images of Sydney’s streets and the city’s skyline from the window of both the Bond and Clarence street studios; while they certainly made exquisite photographs in the studio, for both it was the outdoors that held their most sustained interest and where the majority of their most iconic images were made.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra