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Australian art


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Christine Godden


1947 -


This subtle image of dusk falling over the inner-city infuses time and place with a moody sense of reverie. The urban streets are mellowed by impressionistic light effects which soften hard outlines and evoke the day’s passage into night. The highly personal and sensual depiction of landscape is in keeping with Christine Godden’s intimate photographic style. Godden spent much of her youth travelling throughout Asia and Europe before arriving in the United States in 1971. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1974 and a Master of Fine Arts degree at the Visual Studies Workshop in New York (State University of New York, Rochester) in 1978. She returned to Australia the same year to become the director of the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, a position she held until 1982.

Godden’s series of sunsets were taken in Sydney, often showing the same scene at different times of the day. Courtesy of her sophisticated education with the Visual Studies workshop, Godden toys with established photographic conventions. The views were taken with a small pocket camera on colour film. The small format negatives were then enlarged to well beyond their intended capacity, magnifying grain, blur and defects in the photograph. As such, Godden was consciously rejecting the demands of technical black and white print perfection in high-art photography. Working instead with a deliberately amateur style and subject matter, she privileges the idea of a personal, subjective vision over the mechanical recording of a moment.

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


Other Title

Don Gazzard's house



Media category


Materials used

type C photograph


28.0 x 37.2 cm image; 38.8 x 50.6 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. original mount, ink "Christine Godden 1980".


Purchased 1981


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Christine Godden

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, back cover (colour illus.), 282 (colour illus.). reproduction on back cover is a detail

Gael Newton, Re-constructed Vision: Contemporary work with photography, Sydney, 1981. 19

Michael Wardell, My city of Sydney, Sydney, 2000. no catalogue numbers

Author Unknown, (Christine Godden), Sydney, 1980. 25