Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information




Australian art


View More:


Visions of childhood



Peter Charuk


1951 -


In the 1980s Peter Charuk took photographs with a cheap Diana camera, creating deliberately blurred images. The colour bleeds and simple subject matter reflected the artist's desire to remember and capture fleeting images of childhood.

‘Visions of childhood’ – a hand-bound album of 12 paired black-and-white photo-etchings and the same images shown as diptychs on the wall – is representative of the period when Charuk was exploring photographic processes. As part of this experimentation he used a toy camera as a way to best encapsulate the events and images of childhood – merging form and content in an appropriate way, so that the photographs appear to have been taken from the viewpoint of a child. Like 'first efforts' – my first camera, my first photograph, the sort of memorabilia that ends up in scrapbooks and albums recording the past – the series has none of the sharp, adult ‘matter-of-fact' fullness one expects of documentary photography. Charuk used phrases to title each image, ‘Tarzan calls on the radio’ and ‘Going to Luna park’, however these lead to further imaginative extrapolations rather than providing any narrative explanation.

Peter Charuk was born in Sydney and studied photography and printmaking at Sydney College of the Arts. He has lectured extensively since the 1980s and currently works with digital and interactive media. ‘Visions of childhood’ was included in ‘Reconstructed vision: contemporary work with photography’ at the AGNSW in 1981.

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




Media categories

Album , Photograph

Materials used

hand-bound album: 6 leaves, 12 photo-etchings (2 images per sheet)




26.0 x 34.5 x 0.5 cm album closed :

a.1 - Saturday afternoon at the movies, 9 x 9.3 cm, image

a.2 - Toy figures in front of houses, 9.1 x 9.3 cm, image

Sheet, 25 x 35 cm, sheet (irreg.)

b.1 - Flattening pennies on the railway line, 9 x 9.3 cm, image

b.2 - Water pistol fights at the fete, 9 x 9.3 cm, image

Sheet, 25 x 35 cm, sheet (irreg.)

c.1 - Playing war games on the Bridge, 9 x 9.2 cm, image

c.2 - Lollies from the corner store, 9 x 9.2 cm, image

Sheet, 25 x 35 cm, sheet (irreg.)

d.1 - Taking a ferry ride to Manly, 9 x 9.3 cm, image

d.2 - Making marks on a wall, 9.1 x 9.3 cm, image

Sheet, 25 x 35 cm, sheet (irreg.)

e.1 - Tarzan calls on the radioe, 9.1 x 9.4 cm, image

e.2 - Going to Luna Park, 9.1 x 9.4 cm, image

Sheet, 25 x 35 cm, sheet (irreg.)

f.1 - Reading Phantom comics, 9 x 9.3 cm, image

f.2 - Crashing into the fence, 9.1 x 9.3 cm, image

Sheet, 25 x 35 cm, sheet (irreg.)

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. [inside back cover of album], pencil "Peter Charuk 1980".


Purchased 1980


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Peter Charuk

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 3 publications


George Alexander, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Tableaux - memento mori - screen culture', pg.313-335, Sydney, 2007, 317.

Gael Newton, Re-constructed Vision: Contemporary work with photography, Sydney, 1981, [illus.]. 11

Gael Newtown, Three years on: a selection of acquisitions 1978-1981, 'Photography - Australian, European and American', pg. 67-84, Sydney, 1981, 74. 15