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An image of Rock forms, South Head of Sydney Harbour by Kerry Dundas

Kerry Dundas

(Australia 1931 – Aug 2010)

Rock forms, South Head of Sydney Harbour
circa 1960s
Media category
Materials used
gelatin silver photograph

29.9 x 20.3 cm image/sheet

Signature & date
Signed l.r. image, blue ink "Kerry Dundas". Not dated.
Gift of Elinor Wrobel to commemorate the permanent photography gallery at Art Gallery of New South Wales, and in memory of Fred Wrobel 2011
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Like many other young photographers starting out in the 1940s, Kerry Dundas was drawn to the fledging ‘documentary’ aesthetic of international photography. His mature works are wide ranging in subject matter and exhibit a strong interest in the flow of everyday life and the natural environment. Dundas’s early career is marked by his association with Max Dupain with whom he worked closely in the 1950s as an assistant. He would eventually focus on photographing luminaries of the art world, particularly after his appointment as staff photographer at Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1973 (until 1988).

In the classically modernist ‘Rock forms, South Head of Sydney Harbour’ Dundas frames a composition where the natural forms have turned into an intricate pattern of lines and dots. However, the insertion of the tiny male figure at the very top of this almost decorative pictorial field gives the image an added dimension in line with the late-modernist anxiety about the increasing disjuncture between humanity and nature. Unlike Max Dupain’s and Hal Missingham’s earlier, celebratory images of Sydneysiders on the beach, this photograph is filled with drama and a sense of unease about the increasingly problematic relationship.

Exhibition history (1)

Kerry Dundas. photographs 1948-1988, Woolloomooloo Gallery, Australia, 02 Dec 1988–18 Dec 1988