Friday, April 8, 2011

Return of the Master

E.O. Hoppe returns to Sydney after 80 years.
Eight decades after the renowned German-born photographer extensively documented Australia, a tantalizing sampling of vintage works made by E.O. Hoppe - "A Year in The Life of Australia" is at last being seen in Sydney, in Josef Lebovic's elegant new Kensington Gallery When Hoppe arrived in Australia in 1930 to document the only recently federated nation from coast to coast, the intense cameraman was arguably the most famous photographer in the world. Hoppe (1878-1972) was renowned for being able to address both epic and intimate subjects with equal eloquence. He had photographed slums and palaces, poverty and royalty - all with a characteristic intensity and simple, resonant compositions. Portraits of Hoppe around this time reveal a man who regarded any camera - whether photographing with it or addressing the lens in a circa 1920 self-portrait - with an unquenchable passion.(pictured, above) Before travelling to Australia from Europe he was warned that the new country didn't have enough of visual interest to hold his attention for long. Hoppe, however, soon came to terms with Australia's way of life - and work. His photographs captured the sensuality of leisure, the inferences of poverty caused by a growing world Depression in the 1930's, and the ironic presence of vast public undertakings - such as the construction of Sydney's massive new Harbour Bridge. (pictured, left) Hoppe also, unlike many visiting observers, recognised the importance of indigenous Australia - making images that were luminous in their unsentimental witnessing of tribal life.(pictured, left) This photographer also acknowledged the cultural importance of Australia's sporting icons, quietly documenting epic Test cricket scores by Don Bradman - handwritten on a humble sign attached the boot of a battered, dusty black car in a remote location. (pictured, right) Curatorial Assistance's Graham Howe, who discovered Hoppe's extraordinary photographic archive camouflaged under subjects' names and not the photographer's, in a U.K. photographic archive, believes passionately that Hoppe's Australian photographs (which influenced such renowned Australian photographers as Max Dupain should be acquired by an appropriate Australian institution in order to preserve them for posterity. Until April 23
Darren Sylvester wins $20,000 Photography Award
The photographic award season has begun with "What happens will happen" by Darren Sylvester (pictured, left) winning the 2011 Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photographic Award. Judge Shaune Lakin of the Monash Gallery of Art praised Sylvester's work for being "iconic" but also playing down its claims to being iconic by being "humourous, seductive and charming." Lakin also commended Julie Rrap for her work "Outerspace #10" and Geoff Parr for "Spectre". Works from the Award will be on display at the Gold Coast City Gallery until May 22. 

No comments:

Post a Comment