Max Dupian Essay

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Max Dupian was born in Ashfield Sydney in 1911, he lived there all of his life, photographing the city from the late 1930’s through to just before his death in 1992. Dupian photographed the architecture, the landscape, the beaches and the cities of Australia. For many Australians, Dupains photographs define our beach culture, and it was the beach that was the inspiration for his most famous and enduring images including The Sunbaker, At Newport and Bondi all capture a moment in time. His 1937 photograph the Sunbaker is arguably his most famous work. For many, it is an iconic image of what it means to be Australian. It was not just Sydney and the beach that captured Dupain’s photographic eye. Throughout his life as a photographer Dupain took …show more content…

In 1930 after meeting pictorial photography legend Harold Cazneaux he commenced a three year apprenticeship with Sydney photographer Cecil Bostock. During his apprenticeship Dupian learnt the skills of rigours attention to detail and the techniques of early studio photography. He also studied at the Julian Ashton’s Art School during this time. Dupain continued to take photographs until a few months before his death in July, 1992 and the age of 81. His philosophy could be summed up in two words, simplicity and directness. Colour photography was first used in 1861 but Dupain continued to use black and white photography as he believed colour was restricting in its objectivity and that nothing was left for individual interpretation. Dupain is regarded as one of Australia’s greatest photographers. He stressed simplicity and directness in his work, creating images of sharp focus, boldness and graphic composition. This was in reflection of the skills and techniques he mastered during his early life as a photographer. He was one of the earliest and most outstanding champions of modernism being inspired by photography that was directly in the soul of the …show more content…

The man captured in the photograph was Dupain’s friend Harold Salvage. When asked by Helen Ennis in 1991 for an explanation of the frame of the Sunbaker , Dupain responded: I’m a bit worried about it. I think it’s taken on too much…..It was a simple affair. We were camping down the south coast and one of my friends leapt out of the surf and slammed down on the beach….. We have made the image and it’s been around, I suppose, as a sort of icon of the Australian way of life. Dupain’s simple view on the piece resinates throughout other photographs he took preferring to work with people he had an affinity with including William Dobell and Jean Bellette. It is Dupains simplicity in the Sunbaker that has captured generations of Australians and international attention giving the photo the reputation for representing Australia and Australians life style. The subject Harold, however, is not Australian born but rather a British builder and while most people think the image is taken on Bondi beach it was actually shot on the south coast. Jill White was Dupains assistant for more than 40 years and she said “He was very much an outdoor person with a healthy lifestyle. So it’s no surprise his photography captured the Australian imagination, with our great love of

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that max dupian lived in sydney all of his life, photographing the city from the late 1930's through to just before his death in 1992.
  • Explains that dupain's photographic eye was not limited to sydney and the beach; he took on most genres including portraits, nudes, still life and architecture.
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