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Australian art


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Washing pattern, Woolloomooloo

circa 1910-1915


Harold Cazneaux

New Zealand, Australia

30 Mar 1878 - 19 Jun 1953


In a 1910 article on urban photography for the journal ‘Australasian Photo-Review’, Cazneaux regretted the neglect of the city as a subject by his fellow photographers: ‘in a big city we have the humour and pathos of life, the ease or struggle for existence.’1 Sydney’s streets and lanes, harbour and markets were a recurrent subject of his work. Unlike his artist friends Lionel Lindsay and Sydney Ure Smith, who at the same time were recording picturesque elements of old Sydney in etchings and drawings, Cazneaux’s photographs are rarely documentary or topographical. As with ‘Washing pattern, Woolloomooloo’, they are frequently about light and form. Cazneaux believed, with other artists of his generation, that it was light which would eventually characterise a distinctive national art.

1. Cazneaux H 1910, ‘In and about the city with a hand-camera’, ‘Australasian Photo-Review’, 22 Aug p 426

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007



circa 1910-1915

Media category


Materials used

bromoil photograph


25.4 x 15.0 cm image/sheet

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Gift of the Cazneaux family 1975


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Harold Cazneaux

Works in the collection


Shown in 8 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 6 publications


Natasha Bullock (Curator), Soft shadows and sharp lines: Australian photography from Cazneaux to Dupain, Sydney, 2002. no catalogue numbers

Natasha Bullock, Harold Cazneaux: artist in photography, Sydney, 2008.

Philip Geeves and Gael Newton, Philip Geeves presents Cazneaux's Sydney 1904-1934, Sydney, 1980, 42, 43 (illus.).

Robert McFarlane, Critic's Choice, Sydney, 1994.

Steven Miller, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Australian pictorialism', pg.71-91, Sydney, 2007, 82 (illus.).

Gael Newton, Project 7: Harold Cazneaux 1878 - 1953, Sydney, 1975. 7