(New Zealand, Australia 1896 – 1974)
29.7 x 26.6 cm image; 36.5 x 30.1 cm sheet
Keast Burke was an active photographer in the 1930's and 40's. In 1938 he was elected an associate of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain for a portfolio of male figure studies. From a contemporary perspective, his images of men at play and at work are unusual in their juxtapoxition of animate and inanimate elements. However these photographs were taken at a time when society valued healthy bodies and lifestyles. His style and formal structure, with its contrasting tones and formal arrangement is typical of the aesthetics of New Photography. He wrote in 1932 in The Australasian Photo-Review, of which he was long term associate editor,
The first function of the camera is to record -to see as the eye saw; see more than the eye saw - to give it versatility, to exaggerate detail, to portray surfaces, textures, details, surfaces… It must be ever-busy - at close-up rather than distance - searching out the very quintessence of things, its physical quality.
Keast Burke, "Let us have more Photography" in The Australasian Photo-Review, Vol. 39, No. 12, December 15, 1992, p. 581.
Judy Annear and Daniel Cunningham, The Image of Man, Sydney, 1997.
Paul O'Grady (Editor), Sydney Star Observer, Sydney, 30 Jan 1997, 5 (illus.).
The Image of Man: Photography and Masculinity 1920 to 1950, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 07 Feb 1997–06 Apr 1997