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Collection

An image of 'Stood up' in Swanston Street by Hal Missingham

Hal Missingham

(Australia 08 Dec 1906 – 07 Apr 1994)

Title
'Stood up' in Swanston Street
Year
1947
printed 1978
Media category
Photograph
Materials used
gelatin silver photograph
Dimensions

38.1 x 28.2 cm image; 50.7 x 40.5 cm sheet

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Purchased 1978
Accession number
136.1978
Location
Not on display
Further information

'When I am working with my camera I like to get as close to the object as possible, either physically or by the use of various focal length lenses, so that what I want, fills the viewfinder.' Hal Missingham 1977 1

Taken when Hal Missingham was director of the AGNSW, the lone female figure stands on the curb of Swanston Street probably close to the corner of Flinders Street railway station, a traditional meeting place in Melbourne. Postwar, no stockings but wearing gloves and holding a book she looks perplexed and slightly anxious as her shadow lengthens. She stands, her face partially lit at the close of the day as figures behind her rush past. The narrow fluted support poles emphasise the verticality of image. Missingham's title 'Stood up' suggests a male rendezvous but there are many possibilities for her stationary position. She is captured as a smartly dressed, possibly working, woman before an anonymous lens but perhaps she has seen the photographer who has snapped her in a public place in a private moment. At the time commercial street photographers took pictures of strangers with the hope the photograph would be purchased; this young woman would not have been surprised to see a photographer in the masculine space of the street.

Hal Missingham was born in Western Australia and trained as a graphic artist. He began photographing as an aid to his graphic work. He studied in London and Paris in the 1920s and 1930s and taught there until 1940. After war service with the Australian Imperial Force he became director of the AGNSW until 1971.

1. Missingham H 1977, unpublished ms, artist files, AGNSW, Sydney np

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007

Bibliography (2)

Judy Annear, From the street: photographs from the collection, Sydney, 1996. no catalogue numbers

Rose Peel, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Australian postwar photo-documentary', pg.189-207, Sydney, 2007, 190, 197 (illus.).

Exhibition history (1)

From the Street - Photographs From the Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Apr 1996–14 Jul 1996