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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.

Judy Davis

1981
William Yang

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 48.3 cm x 39.3 cm, image: 40.3 cm x 27.5 cm)

In William Yang's photograph of actor Judy Davis (b. 1955) on the set of the 1982 film Heatwave, he has captured her smouldering intensity. Renowned for playing complex and edgy women, Davis launched her international career with her breakout performance in Gillian Armstrong's My Brilliant Career (1979). Her success continued with A Passage to India (1984), for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. She also received an Oscar nomination for her role in Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives (1992). Davis has won many acting accolades, including eight AACTA awards, two BAFTAs and two Golden Globes. Her acclaimed television performances in Serving in Silence (1995), Life with Judy Garland (2001) and The Starter Wife (2007) each won her an Emmy award. Davis made her directorial debut for the Sydney Theatre Company with Barrymore (1999) and directed her husband Colin Friels in Faith Healer for the Belvoir St Theatre in 2016, which also had sell-out seasons in Melbourne and Adelaide.

Yang is a photographer, writer and performer who recorded the theatre and show business worlds of which he was a part in the 1970s and 1980s. He has produced a sustained body of photography, particularly engaging with the Sydney gay scene, the impact of HIV/AIDS and his sense of identity as a Chinese-Australian.

Purchased 1998
© William Yang

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

William Yang (age 38 in 1981)

Judy Davis (age 22 in 1981)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Patrick White by William Yang

Portrait story

An interview with photographer William Yang who recalls his encounters with the author Patrick White.

In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester

Depth of Field

Portrait Photography from the Collection

Previous exhibition, 2004

Over the last five years the National Portrait Gallery has developed a collection of portrait photographs that reflects both the strength and diversity of Australian achievement as well as the talents of our photographers.

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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