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An image of Mother and child at Cronulla by Max Dupain

Max Dupain

(Australia 22 Apr 1911 – 27 Jul 1992)

Mother and child at Cronulla
Other titles:
Mother and child, Cronulla
Media category
Materials used
gelatin silver photograph

34.1 x 35.4 cm image/sheet; 59.0 x 48.1 cm original board

Signature & date
Signed l.r. and u.c. verso original board, pencil "Max Dupain". Not dated.
Purchased 1987
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Throughout his long career and in his chosen subject matter, Max Dupain celebrated Australian culture and identity. As a distinguished exponent of Modernist photography his work is noted for its formal use of space, shape and tone. During the 1930s he was influenced by a photographic style developed in Europe in the late 1920s called New Photography. In content and form, New Photography was a substantial move away from the soft tones of Pictorialism, a style that had been popular in previous decades with Dupain and other photographers, particularly Harold Cazneaux. The new style was characterised by its emphasis on unusual angles, perspectives and sharp contrasting tones.

Mother and child at Cronulla is one of a series of nudes Dupain took after ceasing to work in the Pictorial style. Dramatic light is used to highlight form and shape, in this case the bodies of the child and woman. Their features are obscured indicating that this is, in many respects, a study in formal relationships. These elements, including the unusual angle of the image and its objectivity are indicative of the qualities associated with New Photography.

Bibliography (2)

Sandra Byron, Fine and Mostly Sunny: Photographs from the collection, Sydney, 1991. 24

Robert McFarlane, Black + White - The Masters, 'Max Dupain', pg. 194-207, East Sydney, 1999, 202 (illus.).

Exhibition history (1)

Fine and mostly sunny: photographs from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Sep 1991–01 Dec 1991