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Australian art


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Untitled (torso)



Douglas Holleley

Australia, United States of America

1949 -


Australian born and American based photographer Douglas Holleley has experimented with many aberrant photographic techniques over the course of his career. Holleley received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 1971 at Macquarie University before travelling to America to undertake a Master of Fine Arts, studying at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York between 1974 and 1976. Founded by Nathan Lyons in 1969 and affiliated with important photographers including Minor White and Frederick Sommers, the Visual Studies Workshop was a bedrock institution that fostered innovative photographic practice from the 1970s onwards. It was here that Holleley received tutelage from Ansel Adams in 1975. His early photographic output includes hand coloured black and white photographs as well as photograms and gridded arrangements of Polaroids. He later began experimenting with digital photography, applying the same principles of the photogram to his experiments with a flatbed scanner.

The two hand coloured photographs held in the collection are representative of Holleley’s final student works at the Visual Studies Workshop. Hand toning black and white figurative photographs, he also sought to transpose his own lived experience into a documentation of the metaphysical. The strong use of contrast creates a visual paradox. These oscillate between a visualisation of the process of reproduction and an ominous sense of the uncanny. The subtle contortion of the bodies is unsettling; a torso becomes a cavity and legs appear severed from their body. These fleshy forms are swathed in an unearthly pallor that both disorients and compels the viewer.




Media category


Materials used

gelatin silver photograph, selectively toned


21.6 x 31.9 cm image; 27.5 x 35.1 cm sheet

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased 1979


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Douglas Holleley

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

  • Ten years on, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Jan 1986–Jan 1986

  • Body Parts, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 2015–31 Jan 2016