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Damien Parer
, c. 1939

by Max Dupain

gelatin silver photograph

Damien Parer (1912–1944), photographer and filmmaker, became friends with Max Dupain in the 1930s, often taking photographs with him on excursions to the beach and bush. In 1933 Parer started working with the feature film director Charles Chauvel, for whom his projects included Forty Thousand Horsemen (1940). With the advent of war Parer became an official film cameraman for the Department of Information. He established a reputation as an outstanding operator in Tobruk, Greece and Syria, where he worked (sometimes with Frank Hurley) between 1940 and 1942. With the acceleration of the Japanese offensive he moved to document the conflict in New Guinea. Here he made Kokoda Front Line, for which he and the film’s producer, Ken Hall, won Australia’s first Academy Award in 1942. Two years later, Parer was killed in action while covering the landing of American forces at Peleliu in the Pacific.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased with funds provided by Timothy Fairfax AC 2003
Accession number: 2003.26