In 1876 the poet Henry Kendall wrote about ‘wave-worn Coogee’, celebrating the wildness of the place: ‘jags and points disrupted, gaps and fractures fringed with light.’ Kendall’s picture of the turbulent coast of Coogee is in sharp contrast to the sun-filled and cheery beachscapes which Tom Roberts and Charles Conder painted there. Bayliss may have been familiar with Kendall’s verse, although the poetic notion of the ‘ever-restless sea’ was well established in 19th-century verse and art. The AGNSW acquired their painting of this title by W Lister Lister in 1892. Poetic and romantic allusions aside, photographs of the sea – ‘instantaneous’ photographs which demonstrated a photographer’s technical abilities – were not uncommon. As one reviewer noted about the genre: ‘several instantaneous views of scenes, into which water in a state of motion enters, are highly artistic and effective.’1
1. 1885, 'New Guinea memorial volume', 'Sydney Morning Herald', 9 Feb p 4
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007
Surf on Coogee Bay five miles from Sydney
15.4 x 21.0 cm image/sheet
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors' Program 1999
Not on display
Referenced in 1 publication
Steven Miller, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'In every house, and in every tent', pg.33-51, Sydney, 2007, 45 (illus.).