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	Image: Anne Zahalka artist #2 (Rosemary Laing) 1998 from the series Artists, colour Duraflex photograph, collection of the artist © Anne Zahalka. Licensed by Viscopy

Lecture series: The photograph and Australia

How photography made modern Australia

Australia’s history is brilliantly illuminated through the medium of photography in the Gallery’s exhibition The photograph and Australia.

In this lecture series, experts from a broad range of artistic disciplines provide essential context and insight into the history of photography and of the country.

Image: Anne Zahalka artist #2 (Rosemary Laing) 1998 from the series Artists, colour Duraflex photograph, collection of the artist © Anne Zahalka. Licensed by Viscopy

Sundays 8-29 March 2015, 10.30am

Single session:
$25 students
$35 member
$45 non-member

Full series:
$120 member
$160 non-member

Bookings and enquiries: 02 9225 1878


Become a member

Link above is for subscription tickets

Ticket price includes lecture entry, coffee during intermission and a glass of wine after the session.

Cancellations: Three full working days (Mon–Fri) notice is required to qualify for a refund. All refunds attract an administration charge of 25% of the ticket price(s) with a minimum charge of $5. With subscription tickets there are no refunds for single sessions unless a session is cancelled. Not negotiable.

Duration 2 hours, 30 minutes
Location: Domain Theatre

Related exhibition: The photograph and Australia

Judy Annear / Professor Jane Lydon

Exhibition overview
Judy Annear
The photograph and Australia is the story of the interactions between people and country, and their representations in photography. The arrival of photography in the 1840s parallels the development of the colonies and relationships with Indigenous Australians. Importantly, the photographs sent to world expositions in the 19th century present an evolving image of the nation. Indeed, in this exhibition, 19th-century photography is seen as the foundational wellspring of this country. Curator of the exhibition Judy Annear introduces The photograph and Australia and poses the question – did photography invent modern Australia?

Photography across cultures
Professor Jane Lydon
Photographs of Australian Aboriginal people have often been understood solely as an expression of the white man’s gaze – and indeed, Indigenous Australians were of great interest to photographers from the camera’s arrival in the colonies in 1841. Yet from their first encounters with photography, Australian Aboriginal people actively participated in the picture-making process. While it is important not to dismiss the enormous power inequalities that shaped colonial relations, instead of seeing photography simply as a tool of colonialism, Professor Jane Lydon considers the views and experiences of the Indigenous participants, and the ways that photographs embody a cross-cultural form of communication.



Sunday 8 March 2015 10:30am – 1pm

Jon Addison / Kathleen Davidson

The call of the wild: wilderness photography and the sublime
Jon Addison
In this lecture, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery curator Jon Addison explores the roots and development of what is now known as 'wilderness photography’. He examines where wilderness photography fits within the canon of landscape photography, and focus on its inextricable links to Australian politics.

Exemplary observers: 19th-century science and the advent of photography
Kathleen Davidson
This lecture examines the impact of photography in science during the Victorian era, including the significance of photographic portraiture for this diverse and geographically-dispersed community, the visual strategies used, and how photographs performed an expanding range of functions.



Sunday 15 March 2015 10:30am – 1pm

Stephen Gilchrist / Julie Ewington

Daguerreotypes, Stereotypes and Prototypes: Indigenous Portraiture in Australia
Stephen Gilchrist
The earliest studio portraits of Indigenous people in Australia date from the 1840s and over time these daguerreotypes became the binding and inescapable definition of Indigeneity. For over a hundred and fifty years, these stereotypes of Indigeneity circulated in the national consciousness and their reproduction in countless cultural texts created a gaping disconnect between assigned and embodied Indigenous identity. From the early 1980s, Indigenous artists living in Australian capital cities began using photography as a way to mobilise new and more nuanced depictions of Indigeneity. Concerned less with correcting and policing visualisations of what Indigenous people are not, artists committed themselves to creating a multi-dimensional and textured panorama of Indigeneity

Presence and Absence in Contemporary Australian Photographs
Julie Ewington
The singular and problematic ability of photographs to capture how we see the world around us has been a powerful tool in Australia since the mid 19th century. Photography, as both a construction and a reflection of this land, has helped shape both Australians and the modern idea of the nation ‘Australia’. This lecture considers how contemporary photographers have reflected on the photographic histories of Australia, both its richness and its occasional unexpected poverty. Works by artists including Robyn Stacey, Rosemary Laing and Anne Ferran will be seen in the light of images from the past and in the context of contemporary considerations.



Sunday 22 March 2015 10:30am – 1pm

Robyn Stacey / Martyn Jolly

Why we collect and how do we value the archive?
Robyn Stacey
Collections reflect the habits, thoughts and aspirations of a society. They tell us who we are and where we have come from. This lecture focuses on the question of why we collect, both as individuals and as a society. Robyn Stacey has spent 12 years photographing and researching national and internationally significant public collections and believes the value of the archive is as much about the relationship and connections that can be made between different parts of the collection, as it is about the spectacular individual object.

Should art museums think of themselves as ‘collections’ or ‘archives’?
Martyn Jolly
Photography has always been a numbers game, and the bigger the number the better. For instance, the awe we are expected to feel when we are told the latest statistic for the number of photographs posted to the internet every millisecond. In this context, where words like ‘exponential’ or ‘ballooning’ barely begin to describe the current state of the medium, is the notion of a photographic ‘collection’ relevant any more?



Sunday 29 March 2015 10:30am – 1pm