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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.

Damien Parer, c. 1939

Max Dupain

gelatin silver photograph on paper

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
Purchased with funds provided by Timothy Fairfax AC 2003

Accession number: 2003.26

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Max Dupain (age 28 in 1939)

Damien Parer (age 27 in 1939)

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.

Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain
Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain
Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain
Sydney Ure Smith, 1948 Max Dupain

Dupain detective

Magazine article by Johanna McMahon, 2019

Johanna McMahon revels in history and mystery in pursuit of a suite of unknown portrait subjects.

Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka, 1936-37 Max Dupain
Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka, 1936-37 Max Dupain
Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka, 1936-37 Max Dupain
Hélène Kirsova in Petrouchka, 1936-37 Max Dupain

Vintage Max

Magazine article by Gael Newton, 2003

Gael Newton delves into the life and art of renowned Australian photographer, Max Dupain.

Damien Parer, c. 1939 Max Dupain
Damien Parer, c. 1939 Max Dupain
Damien Parer, c. 1939 Max Dupain
Damien Parer, c. 1939 Max Dupain

Mirror With A Memory

Photographic Portraiture in Australia

Previous exhibition, 2000

This is the first major exhibition to examine photographic portraiture in Australia, from its beginnings in the early 1840s to the present day

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
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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.