Max DUPAIN, Damien Parer Enlarge 1 /1


Australia 1911 – 1992

Damien Parer c.1943 Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Dimensions: printed image 46.2 h x 37.2 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1982
Accession No: NGA 82.1128

Both Cotton and Dupain were close friends with the cinematographer and documentary photographer Damien Parer throughout the late 1930s. They were all members of the progressive Contemporary Camera Groupe. A student of the great English documentary film maker and theorist John Grierson, Parer brought to Sydney’s pre-war photographic circles a commitment to the idea that photography could simultaneously function as great art and remain socially relevant. An official photographer throughout the Second World War, Parer was killed in action in 1944. His own experience of the war caused Dupain to revise his own relationship to realism; his 1948 monograph was introduced with a quote from Grierson, bemoaning ‘the pursuit of art for art’s sake to the exclusion of jobs of work’, a pursuit which was ’always a reflection of selfish wealth, selfish leisure and aesthetic decadence.’

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra