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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.

Jon Lewis

1990 (printed 2002)
Lewis Morley

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 30.5 cm x 40.4 cm, image: 24.1 cm x 36.4 cm)

Jon Lewis (1950–2020) photographer, first exhibited in the early 1970s, when he was a member of Sydney’s happening art space, Yellow House in Potts Point. In 1977, having begun working in film, Lewis became one of the founders of Greenpeace Australia. Seven years later he began taking the first of his many photographs of people on Bondi Beach, which have since been exhibited widely in Australia and internationally. In 1986 he took photographs in Bali and Lombok, and in the following years in the Australian outback; he worked in Paris between 1989 and 1992. That year, his photographs of 200 famous and little-known Australian faces became Portrait of a Nation, shown at the Mitchell Library, Sydney. In the 1980s, critic Robert McFarlane described Lewis as 'the burr under the saddle of Australian photography' because of his insistence on a pure, rather than a conceptual, approach to the medium. Such a sincere attitude is demonstrated in the photographs from his self-funded trip to East Timor in 2000-2001, recording the everyday life of its people after independence. During a period of living in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales Lewis took trips to photograph Bougainville and Kiribati between teaching commitments in Goulburn and Sydney. The artist later moved to Bryon Bay where he remained until his passing in late 2020.

This shot of Jon Lewis photographing Lewis Morley was taken in Morley’s back yard in Leichhardt, Sydney in 1990.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2002
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Lewis Morley Archive LLC

Artist and subject

Lewis Morley (age 65 in 1990)

Jon Lewis (age 40 in 1990)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Lewis Morley (49 portraits)

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.

Myself and Eye

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2003

Magda Keaney speaks with Lewis Morley about his photographic career and the major retrospective of his work on display at the NPG.

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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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency