Max Dupain devoted much of the latter part of his life to photographing architecture; evidenced in the "thousands of images" he took of the Sydney Opera House. With its simple geometric shapes and sharp lines, the building lent itself well to his modernist aesthetic. In many of these photographs, everyday elements became abstracted through the formal use of scale and perspective. In this photograph form clearly governs the composition. The human figure is rendered largely insignificant against a monumental architectural background. In describing his passion for the built medium Dupain wrote:
"Dealing with architecture brings me very close to the state of mind required to making pictures. A fine building embodies so many elements of practical and aesthetic content: design, form, texture, human scale, craftsmanship and context. The photograph has to reiterate all these things or fail and you have only the bare necessities to do it: optics, chemistry and light".
[Source: Zeny Edwards 'Sydney's Dupain' in Jill White, Dupain's Sydney, Chapter & Verse, Sydney, 1999, p.12]
Photography Department, AGNSW, 2001
gelatin silver photograph
44.3 x 56.3 cm image; 50.7 x 60.7 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated c. verso, pencil "1963/ Max Dupain".
Not on display
© Max Dupain, 1963. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney 2002
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Sydney Opera House tenth anniversary, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 31 Dec 1982–31 Jan 1983
Souvenirs of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 14 Mar 1992–10 May 1992
Max Dupain: the Paris 'private' series and other pictures, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 24 May 2014–31 Aug 2014
Referenced in 2 publications
Rose Peel, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Australian postwar photo-documentary', pg.189-207, Sydney, 2007, 189.
Ursula Prunster, Sydney Opera House tenth anniversary, Sydney, 1982. 75.1984 - 80.1984 catalogue no's 17-21.