David Moore returned to Australia in 1958 having lived in London for seven years where he worked as a photojournalist for illustrated publications such as ‘Life’, ‘Time’, ‘Fortune’ and ‘The Observer’. In Tibooburra, the hottest and most isolated place in north-western New South Wales, Moore photographed Alice Millar. A direct intimate portrait, Alice Millar smiles as she turns from the camera, possibly embarrassed by the attention, eyes momentarily shut against the bright cloudless sky. Behind her are indistinct shadows, sand, rocks and the impression of more heat generated by the reflective surfaces of corrugated iron in the mid-afternoon sun. Moore has positioned the dignified, amenable Alice Millar away from the shade which her modest dwelling could offer in such a harsh environment. The image is in keeping with American photographer Dorothea Lange’s three considerations when taking a photograph – it is not tampered with, has a sense of place as part of its surroundings and has a sense of time past or the present.1 Standing stationary, her body frontally positioned, it is the moment before Alice Millar will look towards the camera, open her eyes and speak, or perhaps turn away.
1. Davis K F 1995, ‘The photographs of Dorothea Lange’, Hallmark Cards Inc, Kansas City, Missouri p 11
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007
gelatin silver photograph
35.0 x 35.6 cm image; 40.4 x 50.6 cm sheet
Gift of Karen, Lisa, Matthew and Michael Moore 2004
Not on display
© Lisa, Karen, Michael and Matthew Moore
Shown in 2 exhibitions
David Moore: the unseen images, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 07 Nov 1997–18 Jan 1998
David Moore 1927-2003 - Photographs from the Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Feb 2003–16 Mar 2003
Referenced in 2 publications
Judy Annear, David Moore: the unseen images, Sydney, 1997, 35 (illus.), 40. no catalogue numbers
Rose Peel, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Australian postwar photo-documentary', pg.189-207, Sydney, 2007, 194, 201 (illus.).