Friday, April 8, 2011

Savoir Faire on the Beach

Maxwell Spencer Dupain was a renowned Australian modernist photographer, whose work to a large extent is relatively unknown outside of Australia, where his images are icons.
Some of his most iconic images were shot on the magnificent beaches of Sydney and Australia in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. The beach plays an integral part in the Australian lifestyle and psyche lucky for those who live close to it. It is something that defines Australia.

In 1937 he photographed the head and shoulders of a friend Harold Salvage lying on the sand at Cullburra Beach. The shot, entitled “The Sunbaker”, became Dupain's most famous piece. However, it was not until the 1970s that the photograph received wide recognition. It was purchased in 1976 by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, and has become an iconic national image.
For many Australians, Dupain's photographs define beach culture, and it was the beach that was the inspiration for his most famous and enduring images. The Sunbaker, At Newport and Bondi all capture a decisive moment and portray life between the wars realistically.

These images appear as fresh and modern toady as what they did over half a century ago, when they must have appeared revolutionary.


  1. New to me.

    Great work.

    Thanks for the introduction!

  2. Great photographs - I've always had a preference for black and white images. Maybe it has to do with being more conscious of their composition. What are those lifeguards doing with the rope over their heads? Do you know?

  3. These are such great capsules of beach life at that time. If I didn't know that the photos were taken in Australia, I would have assumed that they were taken in San Diego!

  4. Great pictures of beach life. I hope they inspire me. I do have a lot of beach pictures, who hasn't? I may publish some, one of this days.

  5. Hello:
    You are absolutely right, these superb images have a freshness which does in fact make them appear contemporary.
    Very recently we were at an exhibition of the work of Robert Mapplethorpe and were struck by the power of black and white over colour photographs.
    It is so good to have discovered your most stylish blog and are signing ourselves up as Followers immediately.

  6. amazing shots

  7. ===============================================

    I really found your pixs from China Wonderful !
    You should also share with us more your talent of photographer !
    ( it would be so great )

    Here i was especially touched by the Narcissus Post ( >>> i don't know why ....{^_^}...)

    Great great work !!

    And thank you for your Presence !
    You re quite the only one to leave me comments !
    Which is quite a mystery to me cause there are around 100 visits a day on mine !.....

    Have a super MAGICAL Weekend Super David !

    Kiss_Kiss !

  8. Love these pictures...seeing all of the old "beach styles" is really fun!

  9. Wonderful photos -of sun bronzed bodies lathered with oil.

  10. Thanks for the intro, David!
    The 1st photograph is my favorite, it's so humbling to know how tiny we are in this world, yes?


  11. great pics! I want to go to the beach now (:

  12. David I was not aware thank you! Fabulous images! Love his Beach theme and the meaning behind it!

    Art by Karena

  13. Maxwell's work is new to me as well, but just the kind of photography I love. Thank you David for the introduction.

    Hope your weekend as lovely?

    Cheers ~ Deb

  14. wow!! vintage everywhere on this site!!
    love it!!

  15. i just found your blog & i love it. what a great post. i've seen most of these photos but i loved looking through them - they're so great.

  16. Jason, many thanks for your visit. Yep lots of vintage on my blog!

    Deb, Dupain's work is so iconic in Australia, I put it in the same class as Brouseau

    Karena, many thanks. He did many shots around the beaches of Sydney.

    Cris, yes it does make you want to go.

    Norma, I think it is one of the most perfect photos ever!

    lenore, just like ants are we not?

    Dianne, many thanks for your visit. Hope to see you again.

    Cat, people even had style when they went to the beach. I love the big floppy striped hat.

    Super D, Many thanks for your visit and comment

    Jean-Pierre, I will try and post some more photos by me soon. Hopefully more people will leave the comments.

    Charleston, many thanks

    Jason, they don't take em like this anymore!

    Jane and Lance, yes black and white photography sometimes captures so much more! Wonderful to see you as followers.

    Pet, I have seen some already on your blog. I like your window shots

    Belle, Mark and Bruce as always glad to have you visit!


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