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At the old mine, now deserted 2



Ed Douglas

United States of America, Australia

06 May 1943 -


Douglas’ colour work in the early 1980s for the CSR photography project presents his subjects as though on a lunar not earthly landscape. In another context, Douglas has said that he wishes to ‘stimulate a more profound look at the familiar.’1 'At the old mine, now deserted 2’ presents a tank on stilts in a panoramic environment which is all a similar tone – shades of beige. Wherever the eye looks in this image and regardless of the constitution of the objects (sky, earth, metal) there is merely a subtle shift in colour. This image presents an environment that has been reduced by mining and yet in its forms and subtlety has a certain strange beauty. Other photographs taken for the CSR project utilise another of Douglas’ speciality - flash photography at night. These further add to the effect of an alien landscape as piles of gypsum take on tonalities and ambiguous weight. Douglas’ work never veers into the grotesque or absurd. All of the objects he photographs are presented with a simple dignity and command without ever being made grandiose.

Ed Douglas was educated in the United States in the 1960s having studied with John Gutmann, Imogen Cunningham and others in San Francisco. He lectured in California before settling in Australia in 1973 and lecturing at Sydney College of the Arts 1976-77. He has taught at the South Australian School of Art, Adelaide since 1977 and from 1979 has used only colour.

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

1. Douglas, E. n.d., artist’s statement, unpub mss, artist file, AGNSW Sydney

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




Media category


Materials used

type C photograph


23.6 x 48.6 cm image; 31.5 x 50.9 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. sheet, ink "Ed Douglas 1983".


CSR Photography Project Collection - Bicentennial Gift of CSR Limited 1988


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Ed Douglas

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 5 publications


Natasha Bullock, Australian postwar photodocumentary, Sydney, 2004. no catalogue numbers

Bronwyn Clark-Coolee, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Not 'simply' anything', pg.266-287, Sydney, 2007, 282 (colour illus.).

CSR Limited, CSR 1855-2005 Celebrating 150 years, Sydney, 2005, 43 (colour illus.).

Christine Godden (Editor), CSR Photography Project Collection: Selected works, Sydney, 1985. no catalogue numbers

Robert McFarlane and Christine Godden, CSR Photography Project Collection: A bicentennial gift to the AGNSW, Sydney, 1988. no catalogue numbers