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.

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