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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Between Light and Shadow

Portraits by Stuart Campbell

Daily from Saturday 30 April 2011 until Sunday 17 July 2011

The late Australian photographer Stuart Campbell produced superb photographs of Australian actors of stage and screen.

Anne Lambert, actor by Stuart Campbell
Anne Lambert, actor by Stuart Campbell

This exhibition, drawn from his estate, includes portraits of a very young Bruce Spence, Wendy Hughes and others that recall the halcyon days of the Australian film industry of the 1970s and 1980s. Stuart Campbell’s portraits record the actors, directors and writers of the cinema renaissance of the 1980s known as the Australian New Wave.

Stuart Campbell (1951–2009), born in Ballarat Victoria, studied at Swinburne Technical College in Melbourne where his love affair with photography began. In 1972 he moved to Sydney and studied at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. After graduation Campbell played on stage with major theatre companies and appeared in a number of films including Caddie (1976) and Starstruck (1982), and on television in Cop Shop and Patrol Boat among others.

Campbell had modest success as an actor, but excelled as a photographer. In the early 1980s he began taking sensitive portfolio portraits for his friends. These included actors such as Mel Gibson, Colin Friels and Judy Davis, and filmmakers Gillian Armstrong and Peter Weir. Campbell stayed faithful to the sensuous darks and lights of black and white film, valuing the richness and honesty of the medium. Other photographic projects included taking the notorious male centrefolds for Cleo and celebrity portraits for Vogue.

"Stuart Campbell’s gifts as a photographer were many but what made him unique was his ability to disarm his subjects with outlandish wit, shocking them out of their self-consciousness so that they revealed more of themselves than they had ever intended" - author and friend, Lee Tulloch.

40 portraits

1Mel Gibson, actor. 2Colin Friels, actor. Both by Stuart Campbell.

Related people

Stuart Campbell

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.