Germany 1913 – Australia 2007
Gears for mining industry, Vickers-Ruwolt, Melbourne
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph
Wolfgang Sievers’ photograph of Gears for mining industry, Vickers-Ruwolt, Melbourne 1967, has become an icon of industrial photography.
Sievers arrived in Australia in 1938 from Germany, where he had been inspired by Bauhaus artists and designers, who advocated a union between workers and industrial production, which would retain the dignity of traditional craftsmen.
Sievers dramatically composed and lit this scene to highlight the clinical white coat of the man wedged between two giant gears. The photograph seems to be all about the deception of scale. In spite of his relative size it is the worker who takes the measure of the machine and is therefore in control.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra