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Three Dimensional

by Kate Gollings, 1 June 2004

Kate Gollings describes an encounter between three generations of Australian photographers; David Moore, Max Dupain and John Gollings.

Colin Madigan and Robert Hughes, Canberra, 1982 (printed 2000) by David Moore
Colin Madigan and Robert Hughes, Canberra, 1982 (printed 2000) by David Moore

On a very happy night in 1976 (I think) David Moore, Max Dupain and John Gollings met to discuss architectural photography with Craig McGregor, author of a forthcoming book entitled New Australian Architecture.

It turned out that they were exactly 17 years apart in age. It was unbelievable; we were all most touched by that. I was there as John's partner and at that time I was just photographing with a 35mm camera. They were in the hallway at some stage, all kind of laughing and being silly, and that's when I snapped the photo. It's really only a snapshot however it does capture three generations of important Australian photographers - photographers with very distinct styles.

Max was the senior photographer and his style was rather romantic and heroic, characterised by strong black and white images. With architectural photography in particular, Max heightened the contrast by using a red filter and sought a three­dimensional viewpoint. David Moore, in keeping with his laconic personality, often stood back from his subject, giving his work a more detached or cooler quality. Both Max and David made photographs as works of art in themselves whereas John looked at a building as an architect, which he used to be, using mostly artificial light, in colour and front-on. That night was the first time John had met these two established photographers. A dialogue started between them, especially between Max as the critical senior and purist with John as defender for the architect - they were always arguing. It was unbelievably important to John, in fact John was the one who benefited most from the meeting really.

They were very happy that night, everyone having a fun time. With both David and Max gone, I'm pleased I was there to capture that special moment.

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