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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.

Heath Ledger, Prague, 2000 (printed 2009)

Bruce Weber

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 43.0 cm x 33.5 cm, image: 42.0 cm x 32.5 cm, frame: depth 4.3 cm)

Heath Ledger (1979–2008), actor, left his native Perth with a mate in his teens and arrived in Sydney virtually penniless. With no formal acting training, he appeared on Australian television and in the feature film Two Hands (1999) before winning the lead in 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) and being chosen by Mel Gibson for The Patriot (2000). Having starred in A Knight’s Tale (2000) he returned to Australia to make Ned Kelly (2003), a box- office squib. For his heartrending performance in Brokeback Mountain (2005) he was nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award and a BAFTA, and won the New York Film Critics’ Circle Award and an Australian Film Institute Award. He returned to Australia for Candy (2006) and was a member of the star ensemble in the Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There (2007) before he turned to the last film he completed, The Dark Knight (2008). For his terrifying portrayal of the sociopath Joker he won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. The awards, however, were posthumous; a chronic insomniac, he died in New York from a toxic combination of prescription drugs at the age of twenty-eight. Cate Blanchett delivered the eulogy at his funeral in Perth.

Bruce Weber (b. 1946), photographer and filmmaker, made his name in the late 1970s with advertising campaigns for Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. Ever since, he has been one of the world’s leading fashion, editorial, portrait and advertising photographers. This characteristically smouldering photograph, taken in the Czech Republic while Ledger was filming A Knight’s Tale, appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair in August 2000.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with the assistance of Alan Dodge AM 2009

Accession number: 2009.56

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Bruce Weber (age 54 in 2000)

Heath Ledger (age 21 in 2000)

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.

Bryan Brown, 2008 Adam Knott
Bryan Brown, 2008 Adam Knott
Bryan Brown, 2008 Adam Knott
Bryan Brown, 2008 Adam Knott

The Look

Previous exhibition, 2019

Featuring striking photographic portraits of contemporary figures from the National Portrait Gallery collection, The Look is an aesthetic treat with a lashing of je ne sais quoi.

Dame Edna Everage, 1982 Lewis Morley
Dame Edna Everage, 1982 Lewis Morley
Dame Edna Everage, 1982 Lewis Morley
Dame Edna Everage, 1982 Lewis Morley

Bare

Degrees of undress

Previous exhibition, 2015

Bare: Degrees of undress celebrates the candid, contrived, natural, sexy, ironic, beautiful, and fascinating in Australian portraiture that shows a bit of skin. 

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

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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.