From 21 March to 8 June 2015 the Art Gallery of New South Wales will present a major exhibition tracing the crucial role photography has played in shaping Australia.


Unknown photographer Australian scenery, Middle Harbour, Port Jackson c1865, carte de visite, 5.8 ø— 8.6 cm image; 6.3 ø— 10.3 cm card. Gift of Josef & Jeanne Lebovic, Sydney 2014.

More than 400 photographs by more than 120 artists will be on display, among them works by Morton Allport, Richard Daintree, Paul Foelsche, Samuel Sweet, JJ Dwyer, Charles Bayliss, Frank Hurley, Harold Cazneaux, Olive Cotton, Max Dupain, Sue Ford, Carol Jerrems, Tracey Moffatt, Robyn Stacey, Ricky Maynard, Anne Ferran and Patrick Pound.

The display will also contain works by unknown and amateur photographers, including photographic objects such as cartes de visite, domestic albums and the earliest Australian X-rays. Highlights include daguerreotypes by Australia’s first professional photographer, George Goodman, and recent works by Simryn Gill.

Curator, Judy Annear, senior curator of photographs at the Art Gallery of NSW, has arranged the display with a thematic rather than a chronological approach, looking at four interrelated areas: Aboriginal and settler relations; exploration (mining, landscape and stars); portraiture and engagement; collecting and distributing photography.

The exhibition will be supported by a lavishly illustrated 308-page publication, The photograph and Australia (Thames & Hudson, RRP $75.00). A major symposium will be held at the Art Gallery of NSW on 18 April 2015 addressing the proliferation and distribution of photographic images.

The photograph and Australia will be open to the public at the Art Gallery of NSW in the major exhibition gallery from 21 March to 8 June 2015, before travelling to the Queensland Art Gallery, where it will be open to the public from 4 July to 11 October 2015.

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