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Australian art


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Untitled (dawn)

circa 1904


Frederick A Joyner


1863 - 1945


Frederick Allen Joyner was born in Adelaide. He studied law and subsequently had a successful legal practice in Adelaide for 50 years. Two of his neighbours, the professional photographer Ernest Gill and the teacher and curator H P Gill, encouraged his early interest in art and photography. He joined the South Australian Photographic Society in 1894 and eventually became its president. Like Harold Cazneaux, Joyner was influenced by the work of fellow South Australian John Kauffmann, who held a solo exhibition in 1898. In the same year, Joyner had one of his works selected by a panel, which included Alfred Stieglitz, for the Philadelphia Photographic Salon.

Most of Joyner’s photographic work was done while the South Australian Photographic Society was active; after its demise in 1909 his output decreased. Years later, when the Adelaide Photographic Society was formed in 1926, Joyner became active again, exhibiting landscapes and images of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, taken on trips there with his painter friend Hans Heysen.

This photograph has been called his ‘most self-consciously posed work … the flimsily draped girl, melodramatically looking to a new alien world, echoing the Pre-Raphaelites and their yearning for the past pre-industrial age’.1 Joyner was unusual among his contemporaries on account of the number of subject, or genre, photographs he made. The first photographs which he exhibited publicly in 1894 were narrative images, using his own children as models. He also liked photographs printed in dark tones. One reviewer thought a character study ‘was somewhat marred by the colour it was toned’.2

1. Waterhouse J 1981, 'Real visions: the life and work of F A Joyner, South Australian photographer 1863-1945', Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide p 5
2. 1911, 'Photographic Society of NSW exhibition: a critical survey', 'Harrington's Photographic Journal', 22 May p 140

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



circa 1904

Media category


Materials used

gelatin silver photograph, brown tone


22.5 x 27.6 cm image; 26.6 x 31.6 cm sheet

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Gift of Mrs Max Joyner 1982


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Frederick A Joyner

Works in the collection


Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 4 publications


Steven Miller, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Australian pictorialism', pg.71-91, Sydney, 2007, 80 (illus.).

Denise Mimmocchi, Australian Symbolism: the art of dreams, ‘Artful atmospheres: Symbolism and photography’, pg. 123-136, Sydney, 2012, 125 (colour illus.), 144.

Wayne Tunnicliffe, Bridled Passions, Sydney, 1996. no catalogue numbers

Author Unknown, Real Visions, the Life and Work of F.A. Joyner, South Australian photographer 1863-1945, Adelaide, 1981. 34