Roger SCOTT, Australia Day Celebration Enlarge 1 /1


Australia born 1944

Australia Day Celebration 1975 Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Dimensions: printed image 23.9 h x 36.2 w cm sheet 30.4 h x 38.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of the Philip Morris Arts Grant 1982
Accession No: NGA 83.2691

A new generation of young photographers came to prominence in the 1970s and with them came a new attitude to photography. The first photography departments were established at the art museums in Sydney and Melbourne and Canberra and, in 1973, the Australian Centre for Photography opened its doors. Attending the first courses in photography to be offered at art schools, the new generation turned away from ambitions to become photojournalists or commercial photographers and focused instead on an unglamorous, often gritty, portrayal of their own lives and those of their contemporaries. It was an exhilarating time; Roger Scott, then in his twenties, was caught up in the excitement. He concentrated on street photography:

The photograph of hippies dancing under Sydney Harbour Bridge was taken on an Australia Day in the early 1970s. It was a time of political and cultural change. For some, this meant a feeling of freedom from the more conservative elements of the past. The electricity and energy bursting from this group was like a magnet. Street photographers don’t have time to ponder a scene. To capture the spontaneity of a street scene you work in 100ths of a second. This was a time of hope, these people were free spirits, and to me, a joy.1

Roger Scott (2002) and Anne O’Hehir

1Letter from Roger Scott to the National Gallery of Australia, 2002.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002