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In a New Light: Australian Photography 1930s-2000
David Moore (1927–2003) Newcastle Steelworks, 1963 1963 photograph; gelatin silver on layout sheet © David Moore Estate

In a New Light: Australian Photography 1930s-2000

Alec T. Bolton » Jeff Carter (AUS) » Harold Cazneaux » Olive Cotton » Destiny Deacon  » Peter Dombrovskis » Max Dupain » John Bertram Eaton » Jim Fitzpatrick » Roger Garwood » Fiona Hanson » Bruce Howard » Frank Hurley » Laurence Le Guay » Frank Leyden » Henri Mallard » Robert McFarlane » Ern McQuillan » David Moore (AUS) » Axel Poignant » David Potts » Russell Roberts » Athol Shmith » Wolfgang Sievers » Albert Tucker » William Yang » & others

Exhibition: 2 Dec 2004 – 28 Mar 2005

National Library of Australia

ACT 2600 Canberra

+61 2-62621111


In a New Light: Australian Photography 1930s-2000
Laurence Le Guay (1917–1992) Model in Lacy Dress Posing in front of Flowers c.1960 colour photograph; 50.2 x 39.8 cm Collection of Fashion Photographs and Portraits Courtesy of Candice Le Guay

In a New Light: Australian Photography 1930s–2000 is drawn from the extensive holdings in the National Library of Australia’s Pictures Collection. The exhibition aims to raise public awareness about the photography collection itself—without doubt one of the most important in the country—as well as the National Library’s role in collecting a diverse range of Australian visual material. However, the exhibition hopes to go further than this, by encouraging viewers to think differently not only about the National Library but also about photography and history. The scope and size of the National Library’s photography collection is such that it offers a huge range of narrative possibilities about different aspects of Australian history and society. In a New Light: Australian Photography 1930s–2000 engages with the history of the modern period through photographs taken by many of Australia’s leading professional photographers as well as by amateur or unknown photographers whose work is far less familiar to contemporary audiences. The stories these photographs have to tell about Australian life during the twentieth century relate above all to the processes of modernity. There is a focus on the built environment, the physical realm of the city in which the great majority of Australians were living by mid-century. Also prominent is the desire to define a national character; this can be seen in representations of typical aspects of Australian life and the activities of ordinary Australians. The photographs on exhibition have been acquired by the National Library primarily as visual records whose roles, in accordance with their subject matter, are quite specific. However, these photographs, like all photographs, are multi-dimensional. They offer contemporary viewers an array of possibilities that include the opportunity to re-engage with and re-imagine the past—the very recent past of the twentieth century.

In a New Light: Australian Photography 1930s-2000
Harold Cazneaux (1878–1953) Staircase, Elizabeth Bay House 1930 photograph; b&w; 37.7 x 30.4 cm Cazneaux Collection
In a New Light: Australian Photography 1930s-2000
Peter Dombrovskis (1945–1996) Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River, Tasmania, 1979 cibachrome; 51.4 x 64.2 cm