We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Wife's back



Jamie Bradbeer


1948 –

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    gelatin silver photograph
    24.0 x 18.8 cm image; 25.4 x 20.3 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed l.r. verso, pencil "Jamie Bradbeer". Dated u.l. verso, pencil "...(1980)".

    Purchased 1981
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Jamie Bradbeer

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Jamie Bradbeer

    Works in the collection


  • About

    This image is from a series of four which also feature the photographer, his father and baby. While Jamie Bradbeer’s work is comprised largely of images of family members, it is, however, far from ordinary family portraits. His photographs suggest the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of family relationships. His inclusion as a subject in the series highlights the personalised nature of the work and, viewed together, they suggest emotional relations between the family members. Taken within intimate range Bradbeer communicates the potency and essence of his subjects and his relation to them in a single image. Using a double-development process similar to solarisation, Bradbeer transforms the everyday appearance of his family. The process which he uses causes tonal reversals to occur in shadow areas with often unexpected and magical results. He uses this manipulation technique for emotive and personal effect, as is evident in the image ‘Wife’s back’. The flattened image heightens the viewer’s sense of proximity to the subject, yet there is a tension in this closeness as the subject remains essentially closed off, back turned. Involved in the intimate exchange, the viewer is left to read the woman’s back for further insight as if participating in the relationship. There is a stoic, meditative quality to Bradbeer’s images, yet his sensitive use of process has imbued his subjects with an electric resonance both graphic and emotionally powerful.

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

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

Other works by Jamie Bradbeer