Group M and the Moggs Creek Clickers



Philip Bentley's Thesis Introduction   /  chapter 1  /  chapter 2  /  chapter 3  /  chapter 4   /  conclusion   /  Illustrations  /   bibliography Group M 



Chapter One

Cameras with a purpose


Few works of art are produced in a vacuum. Instead they rely upon the artist being influenced by, and reacting against, external stimuli. These elements can either be directly connected to the creator’s field of endeavour, or be of a more general nature. To understand fully an artist’s position, one needs to explore the context in which he or she has been working. To gain insight into the workings of Group M it is necessary to explore salient aspects of the history of photography. This chapter presents a brief survey of the medium’s development, both in general, and in Australia in particular. It concentrates on their chosen area of activity, the documentary style.

Since its invention in the 1830s the camera has been used to document the world. Developed as part of the technological imperative of the Industrial Revolution, it was not surprising that the initial impulse was for the medium to be seen as a purely mechanical recorder of reality.[1] Inspired by the positivist spirit of the age that sought to explain the world through observation, early photographs showed street scenes, portraits, rural vistas and sites from foreign lands. Early instances of the reporting of events were to be seen in the work of Roger Fenton in the Crimean campaign, and Matthew Brady in the American Civil War.[2]

As the craft developed, the potential for a more creative approach, achieved by a greater input of the photographer, became more explicit. Painting, as the most prominent location of visual aesthetics, was the primary source of influence. After the styles of the day, landscapes became moody mist-wrapped impressions, portrait sitters stared ethereally into the camera to show their ‘inner dimension’, whilst other sitters acted out moralistic or historical tableaux. Tricks in print developing, such as multiple exposures or created texture, were similarly called upon to heighten the artistic effect.[3] Examples such as these, where the idealisation of the subject through composition or a variety of printing techniques is paramount, have come to be known by the term ‘pictorialism’.[4]

By the end of the nineteenth century, the division between the pictorialist approach, and the more documentary or ‘straight’ one, was well established. However, photo historian Anne-Marie Willis has sounded a note of caution against seeing this as the defining debate within the medium. Although speaking of the Australian scene, her comments have universal application when she suggests the development of photographic styles was not as simple as one neatly following the last. For her, this discussion is more fully located within the ranks of the amateur, who had the time and lack of commercial pressure to debate issues more strongly.[5]

Although amateurs had existed since the invention of the camera, their ranks were significantly swelled by the development of the cheap and portable Kodak ‘pocket’ camera in 1885. Not only did this development lead to an upsurge in camera clubs, it also caused a division in amateur ranks between ‘serious’ proponents and ‘mere’ snapshooters.[6] Many of the latter took to their pastime with a fervour akin to “an army of wild men and women [who] in the first frenzy of camera savage dogs snap at everything they see.”[7]

The turn of the century saw a movement towards ‘straight photography’. In its initial stages this trend was sponsored by pictorialists who wished to see photography evaluated on its own terms. In particular, members of two influential photography groups, The Brotherhood of the Linked Ring, in England (formed in 1892), and the Photo-Secession, in America (1902), were involved, setting up their own exhibition salons.[8] The founder of Photo-Seccession, Alfred Stieglitz, played a major role in the following transition from pictorialism to straight photography by seeking to capture chance “moments of casual life of the street”. By employing artistic design, without artificial tricks, he synthesised the aesthetic and more documentary approaches.[9] This shift was also fostered by changing social concerns, the assimilation of contemporary avant-garde painting, and greater mobility for photographers provided by the invention of faster film and more portable equipment.[10] Pictorialism, although “finished as a movement by the mid 1920s”, has continued to inform the attitudes and methods of certain branches of photography, for example portraiture, to this day.[11]

Another significant step in the documentary approach occurred in Paris, where Eugene Atget took his camera into the streets, and made an exhaustive record of the built environment. His “reduction [of photography] to [its] bare essentials” was to have an influence on the future documentary style, although he was probably to have an even greater effect upon the surrealist photographers of the 1920s and 30s, who were struck by his concentration upon the mundane, and unintentional whimsy of his empty streets.[12]

A more purposeful use of photography was made by two Americans, the Danish born Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine, who utilised the medium to encourage social reform. In the late nineteenth century Riis, a journalist, took his camera into the slums of New York to expose ‘how the other half lived’ (the title of his book on the subject published in 1890). Photos from these expeditions were projected at lantern-show nights as a way of encouraging philanthropy from his predominantly middle-class audience.[13]

In the early years of the twentieth century Hine, a sociologist, recorded child labour as a way of demonstrating the need to eradicate the practice. Later he sought to document the “human aspects of industry”, portraying workers in a heroic light, “in the belief humanity could prevail over the system”.[14]

In both cases their work did appear to have a role in stimulating social reform. However more recent analysis has suggested a subtext to their activities more enmeshed in notions of class control.[15] In this scenario Riis appears more concerned in reflecting nineteenth century notions that moral decay was the cause of poverty. His motivation then, was less to sponsor an end to poverty, than to reinforce the class divisions by constructing the poor as the ‘other’ (demonstrated by the title of his book). His encouragement of middle-class philanthropy was similarly more sponsored by his belief that this would lead to one’s self-improvement, than the good it may do the poor.[16] Hence the impulse to provide social reform often involved a reciprocal arrangement.

To discover poverty was for many social minded members of the middle class a revelation that gave them a place in the world. They wanted to not only show how the other half lived, but to forge personal understanding as a foundation to social improvement.[17]

Hine appears to have been less patronising in his aims, but often found his work put to similar ends as a result of the way it was used by the organisations he was working for. This aside, Hine is still referred to as the father of documentary photography. This is due to his desire to “illuminate the world and foster knowledge, understanding and sympathy” in viewers.[18] In his words: “I wanted to show the things that had to be corrected. I wanted to show the things that had to be appreciated.”[19]

The growing interest in human and urban themes was to a significant degree sponsored by the concerns of modernism, which looked away from the redemptive qualities of nature and divinity, and placed more faith in human inspired technology, art and ethics.[20] This movement, which had so transformed painting in the late nineteenth century had, in its post-WWI incarnation, a dramatic effect upon photography. Whilst its perceptual side emphasised elements such as sharp focus, angularity, technology and contrasting light and shade,[21] its conceptual side, buoyed by a spirit of post-war idealism, sought to affirm humanity. In particular it focussed on the “lives of the common subject” as a way of countering the “leaching away of individuality” by the “vastness and complexity of modern life.”[22]

The movement was especially strong in Weimar Germany and its human concerns can be seen in the portraits of Auguste Sander.[23] The above interests were reflected in works appearing in the relatively new publishing medium of the picture magazine. Beginning in Germany, it is probably better known through the American publications Life and Look. Further improvements in photographic technology, including the invention of the ‘modern’ 35mm SLR camera and faster film, enabled a growing number of photo-journalists to record life more candidly.[24] One popular way that work was printed was as a series of photographs, known as a ‘photo-essay’, strikingly seen in the work of Robert Capa on the Spanish Civil War, or Brassai on Parisian night life.[25]

The English-speaking world was similarly concerned with humanist imperatives, but tied them more tightly with a push for social reform. Although America took the lead, sponsored by the rise of state liberalism,[26] a significant influence was made by the British film maker, John Grierson. In the 1920s he coined the word ‘documentary’ and produced a virtual manifesto on its potential.[27] There was a belief that “[the] social truths of the world could be captured on film”, which when broadcast to the world could alert people to injustices, or reflect to them inspiring lives. [28] Importantly, these documentarians tended to be “reformists rather than radicals”, interested in working within institutions to achieve their ends, not in overthrowing them.[29]

In the US, the liberal reformist ideology reached its apogee with the programmes and propaganda instigated by the Roosevelt administration’s New Deal of the 1930s. Given the links that photographers, such as Riis and Hine, had made between the medium and social reform, it was not surprising to find photography playing a prominent part. Indeed it was at this time that the most significant body of documentary photographs was created by photographers in the employ of the Farm Security Administration (FSA).[30] Charged with producing a record of the depressed conditions in rural America, this group, under the direction of economist and administrator Roy Stryker, has traditionally been seen as the pre-eminent executors of the documentary approach, photographing the hard conditions they found with honesty and respect.[31]

Stryker’s instructions to his charges (whose roll call now reads like an honour board of documentary photography—Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Carl Mydans, Marion Post Wolcott and so on) were to research a subject in-depth before seeking to document it.[32] In the field, the FSA photographers sought, in the words of Lange: “not to molest, tamper, or arrange”.[33] The pictures were widely published, and used as part of travelling exhibits to alert Americans to the rural plight, but also to demonstrate the positive activity of the administration.[34] The resultant body of images has been lauded for being “honest pictures about real people”.[35] They were considered to have highlighted photography’s ability to disseminate information to the masses, thereby playing a part in the democratic process to allow for informed discussion.[36] This therefore has been considered to be “photography with a purpose”.[37]

Over the past twenty years, as with Riis and Hine, various criticisms of the project have surfaced. Whilst its role was always to influence public opinion, voices have been raised to suggest the work was used more for propaganda by an administration adept at media management to “justify social reform already under way”.[38] At a deeper level, the portrayal of many of the subjects as possessing a dignity in spite of their reduced circumstances has been criticised as another way of portraying them as the ‘other’. If they seem to have dignity despite their situation, so the idea runs, then it provides a reassurance to the urban middle classes that the subjects are poor, but happy.[39] Finally, under the harsh glare of post-modernism’s deconstruction of objectivity, it has been suggested that this was as much a created discourse as the truth. The world which the FSA photographers recorded was thus a vision of ‘lost small-town America’ created by focussing on the vernacular, rather than the modern, and then further enhanced by Stryker’s biased selection of shots.[40]

With the outbreak of WWII, photography’s links to propaganda became more overt. This was clearly seen in two exhibitions produced by the photographer Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Power in the Pacific (1942), and the Road to Victory (1945). Steichen placed more emphasis on the communicative aspects of photography than the artistic, constructing a visual narrative as opposed to a collection of discrete images. The end result was a display which more resembled a magazine photo-essay transferred to the walls of a gallery. A variety of images, some from areas not connected with the war (such as the FSA), were recropped, recaptioned and enlarged to mural size (as large as 10’x 40’). They were then displayed flush mounted, unmatted and without glass. The cumulative effect was “photographs used as a force” which didn’t just “sit quietly on the walls...but jut[ted] out...[and] assault[ed] your vision”.[41] Much of the exhibition’s presence was the work of designer Herbert Bayer, who had imbibed the psychology of advertising, and sought to “persuade and lead [the viewer] to a planned and direct reaction”.[42]

After the war, the success of these two displays encouraged Steichen to use a similar format to produce what has reputedly been the most popular exhibition of photography ever, The Family of Man.[43] Steichen brought together over 500 images of people worldwide engaged in basic human experiences: birth, love, work, death and so on. The message was that these common activities were what link humanity and surmount whatever regional or ethnic differences exist. Coming after a major war, and in the shadow of nuclear Armageddon, they were life affirming notions, undoubtedly sponsored by a pressing need to “affirm [a sense of] what it is to be human”.[44] In this there is clearly a similarity to the wellsprings of the documentary trend after WWI. They also “follow[ed] a tradition [during] the 1930s and 40s [of] using photos to illustrate populist themes celebrating the triumph of unity over diversity”.[45] Just as important in the exhibition’s overall statement as its theme, was its presentation. It too featured large mural-size prints, arranged in ‘narrative chains’, and embellished by a variety of visual tricks: such as a mirror placed amongst a variety of portraits to locate the viewer among them.[46]

Even more striking than its popularity has been the level of sustained criticism which the exhibition has received, primarily in the last twenty years. Its central message of the unity of all has been challenged by those who consider it is primarily a post-war, middle-class, American view on humanity being preached. Its subtext, they argue, promotes the nuclear family, middle-class ideals and Western democracy.[47] Photographic theorist Allan Sekula has further made the case for it being more than just an expression of cold war ideology, but an active tool in America’s struggle for the hearts and minds of the unaligned.[48] Other criticisms have been made of its overly sentimental approach, perhaps exemplified by Eugene Smith’s final image of two children walking hand in hand out of a tunnel of dark overgrowth into a sunlit garden.[49] It was no doubt images such as this which provoked the expressionist photographer Minor White to observe of the exhibition: “How quickly the milk of human kindness turns to schmaltz!”. Even the doyen of documentary photography, Walker Evans, decried it as “bogus heartfeeling”.[50] It has also been attacked by cultural commentators, such as W.T. L’hamon and James Guimond, for being a part of the conservative agenda of the time—a photographic statement akin to the paintings of Norman Rockwell, or the films of Frank Capra.[51] Finally its pretensions to proclaim a universal message can be read as a product of the modernist fascination with the redemptive quality of grand unifying world views—the meta-narratives of Jean-Franciois Lyotard’s thought—which he claims have been fragmented in the postmodern age.[52]

The Family of Man has been seen as bringing down the curtain on the objective, basically optimistic, essentially public photography of before and just after WWII. From the 1950s, the field has come to be increasingly dominated by informal, sometimes inscrutable work, often produced for the photographer first, and for his audience second. This has been the case even where documentary themes have been explored, and can be seen in the work of Robert Frank and Diane Arbus.[53]

Frank, a Swiss photographer, toured the US in the mid-1950s, at a time when the American Dream, in all its sugarcoated, tinsel decorated glory, was rampant. As an outsider he was more aware of the coarse underbelly which lay beneath it. Rather than the reassuring images of the FSA or The Family of Man, he produced a record of the banality of middle-class existence and the ‘quiet desperation’ of the marginalised.[54] In the process he revitalised American photography by employing a variety of styles, idioms and techniques, and photographing with less concern for the potential viewer.[55]

Arbus also shared this personal stance, replacing social concerns with psychological ones. In her portraits of the gross and the bizarre (“freaky things” as she described them), she sought to subvert the tenets of the American Dream, especially the middle-class nuclear family, and to stress the difference between subject and viewer, rather than seeking what they had in common.[56]

The documentary strand has remained active to this day, although it is now more often to be found in the work of photo-journalists covering areas of human unrest or tragedy. One example of a latterday attempt to proselytise the cause has been the International Fund for Concerned Photography (IFCP), founded by Cornell Capa (son of Robert) in 1966. This non-profit organisation sought to “encourage and assist photographers...who were vitally concerned with their life and times”. It mounted a variety of exhibitions and produced a number of books. In his preface to one of them, Associate Editor Michael Edelson sums up the philosophy of the field succinctly. He suggests that it was the photographer’s “concern for life which [was] their bond”; be they recording man’s inhumanity to man, or revealing the beauty of nature, or the human form. In essence, documentary photographers are “vulnerable human beings who are extraordinarily sensitised to the point of being concerned photographers”.[57]



The first photographers in Australia arrived in the 1840s, although it was not until after the goldrushes of the 1850s that they were to be found in significant numbers.[58] Photography had a particularly potent role to play in a country being colonised by a distant power. On a superficial level it allowed records of people and places to be sent back home, but its uses went deeper than this. By photographing the land and the native population, the colonial photographer was claiming a form of sovereignty over this ‘new’ world, seeking to “lay symbolic claim to the landscape, tame the unfamiliar and celebrate the familiar in an alien setting”.[59] The penchant for the misty pictorialist landscape, as strong in Australia as elsewhere, is an example of this transforming of the perceived ‘harsh’ landscape into more muted English conditions.[60]

As the country developed, photography was a useful means of recording one’s own success, as well as broadcasting a sense of civic pride to the world. Photographers, such as Henry Merlin and Charles Bayliss, exploited these urges producing shop by shop records of urban streets, with proud owners before them, and more general urban scenes meant to advertise the development of the colony.[61] Documentation, rather than the documentary, was the mainstay of photographic work in the colony. It is true that in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries slums of Sydney were photographically recorded, but these were part of projects to relieve poverty through urban renewal, rather than by direct philanthropic means.[62]

The twentieth century saw a similar interest in modernist concerns here as overseas, especially in the professional sphere, where the movement’s attributes were appropriate to both advertising and fashion photography.[63] Pictorialism however continued to persevere, particularly in the salons and amateur ranks, where adherents saw its use of fine art aesthetics as a way to elevate the craft.[64] As the photographer Jack Cato remembered the style was a “vital and exciting…revolution” allowing “freedom from...dull formalism”.[65]

Early in the century, Harold Cazneaux synthesised the two streams, combining the romance of pictorialism with urban locales in a similar fashion to Alfred Stieglitz.[66] Cazneaux however remained traditional in his use of abstraction. It was left to those of the upcoming generation, foremost among them Max Dupain and Lawrence Le Guay, to fully exploit the style.[67] It was also Dupain who formed the Contemporary Camera Group in 1938, an exclusive organisation of artists and photographers whose manifesto was to seek the “original thought of the living moment”.[68]

Full blown documentary work really only began during WWII. Prior to this time there had been various anthropological projects to record Aborigines, but their agenda was often that of specimen collecting.[69] Frank Hurley had been active as a war photographer in WWI, but he adopted a more pictorialist approach, combining images in the one print.[70] Thus it was not until the heroic shots of workers made by Edward Cranston during WWII, that Australia produced photographs which sought to have a “direct, emotional appeal to a mass audience”.[71]

Immediately after the war there was a significant interest by Australian professionals in the documentary approach. Whilst its sources are various, the sense of idealism and ‘spirit of reconstruction’ which were responsible for The Family of Man were clearly underlying much of the appeal. Other reasons were a dissatisfaction with of the popular press’s failure to rise above detailing “the famous, scandal and trivia”, and the continued prevalence of pictorialism in the salons.[72] Photographers involved included Dupain, David Moore, Geoffrey Powell, David Potts and Axel Poignant. Much of this activity was located in Sydney and was especially focussed in the pages of the Le Guay edited Contemporary Photography. Dupain summed up the feeling in 1948 by stating:

Modern photography must do more than entertain, it must incite thought and, by its clear statements of actuality, cultivate a sympathetic understanding of men and women and the life they choose to create and live.[73]

He also formed a loose group of like-minded professionals, including Potts and Poignant, in 1954. They produced a group exhibition 6 Photographers in 1955. Its stated aim was to make “unstaged, spontaneous and personal recordings of observed things and human behaviour”. [74]

Unfortunately as the 1950s progressed it became harder for professional photographers to combine such idealistic views with the demands of commercial work. This would have been less of a problem if there had been easy outlets for personal work, but with salons more interested in pictorialism, and galleries not recognising photography as an artform, practitioners wishing to work in a documentary style had few options.[75] Some were forced out of the style, others such as Moore and Potts moved overseas, where they worked as photo-journalists. In the 1960s, a number of professional photographers found commissioned work for large companies a way of keeping an element of the documentary in their work. Given that the bottom line was promotion rather than comment though, these activities have been open to criticism. One photographer who succeeded in walking the tightrope better than most was Wolfgang Sievers. His Bauhaus-formed philosophy, which sought a positive interaction between man and machine, was tailor-made to see him produce work which was aesthetically impressive, thematically pure and commercially satisfying.[76]

As the above demonstrates, the role of the professional in Australian photographic history has been closely documented. That of the amateur, on the other hand, has received much less attention.[77] What it has garnered has often been presented from the perspective of the professional, who has been seen as largely propelling innovation within the medium. Yet, as Green has asserted, amateurs “work within a cultural ambience of their own”.[78] To judge them monolithically from the ‘great man’ perspective then, will be to ensure the results are skewed. Speaking of the regular criticisms of salon photography made in Contemporary Photography, Willis points out that the potential role for the amateur was never pursued in these pages.

Discussion was always of subject matter and treatment, hardly ever of the functions of photography or of other means of circulating images besides the salons and competitions.[79]

Amateurism during the post-war period did become more insular and conservative, and certainly showed a preference for the cliched realms of soft focus nudes, pictorialist landscapes and cute children.[80] However this did not apply to all. In particular, where the idealism of professionals foundered on the need to remain commercial, amateurs were potentially more capable of following their hearts. Consequently, at a time when professionals were folding their tents and reluctantly leaving the documentary arena, a group of amateurs were beginning to crusade for its further development. This group, which became Group M, began in the mid-1950s as the Moggs Creek Clickers. Having explored the photographic background relevant to their development, it is to them that we now turn.

>>>  Chapter Two


[1] Jeffrey, I., Photography: A Concise History (Thames & Hudson, London, 1981), p. 10; Freund, G., Photography & Society (David R. Godine, Boston, 1980), p. 69.

Gael Newton makes the intriguing point that the basic photographic technology had been in existence since the early eighteenth century. Hence, she suggests that the reason photography was developed in the early nineteenth century had as much to do with the prevailing social conditions as the scientific. Newton, G., Shades of Light: Photography and Australia 1839-1988 (Australian National Gallery and Collins Australia, Sydney, 1988), pp. xi-xii.

[2] Jeffrey, Concise, pp. 48, 52.

[3] Ibid., pp. 38-44, 88.

[4] International Centre for Photography (ICP) (Eds.), The Encyclopaedia of Photography (Pound Press, New York, 1984), p. 396.

[5] Willis, A-M., Picturing Australia: A History of Photography (Angus & Robertson, North Ryde, 1988), pp. 175-76.

[6] Ibid., p. 126.

[7] C.A. Jeffries, ‘serious’ member of the Clifton Hill Camera Club in Emmett, F., “The Serious Amateurs and the Black Art: Social Aspects of Australian Amateur Photography 1897-1914” (BA Thesis, Monash University, 1993), p. 13. See also Jay, B., “The Photographer as Aggressor” in Featherstone, D., (ed.) Observations (Friends of Photography, Carmel, 1984), pp. 7-23, which details the trend overseas.

[8] ICP, Encyclopaedia, pp. 307, 394, 396.

[9] Jeffrey, Concise, pp 100. For examples see: Stieglitz A., Alfred Stieglitz (Gordon Fraser, London, 1976).

[10] Jeffrey, Concise,  p. 101; ICP, Encyclopaedia, p. 397.

[11] ICP, Encyclopaedia, p. 397.

[12] Beaumont-Maillet, L., Atget’s Paris (Thames & Hudson, London, 1993), p. 23. See also Jeffrey, Concise, pp. 136-141.

[13] Stange, M., Symbols of Ideal Life: Social Documentary Photography in America 1890-1950 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989), p. 4.

[14] Denzer, K., “The Documentary Imagination of Lewis Hine” History Today Vol. 38, August 1988, pp. 49-50; quote p. 50; Jeffrey, Concise, pp. 159-60.

[15] See particularly Stange, Symbols, and Stein, S., “Making Connections with the Camera: Photography and Social Mobility in the Work of Jacob Riis”, Afterimage, May 1983.

[16] Stange, Symbols, pp. 4, 5, 13, 23. He also details recent research which suggests many of Riis’ more famous photographs were in fact taken by others, p. 10.

[17] Denzer, “Hine”, p. 55.

[18] Stange, Symbols, p. 49; Denzer, “Hine”, pp. 49-50; quote p. 50.

[19] Hine in ICP, Encyclopaedia, p. 151.

[20] Jeffrey, Concise, p. 104; Sarup, M., An Introductory Guide to Post-Structuralism and Post Modernism (Harvester Wheatsheaf, Hemel Hempstead, 1988), p. 130.

[21] Newton, Shades, pp. 105-7; Willis, Picturing, p. 156.

[22] Jeffrey, Concise p. 119; Freund, Society, p. 149; Willis, Picturing, p. 191.

[23] Jeffrey, Concise, pp. 130-33. For examples see: Sander, A., Auguste Sander (Gordon Fraser, London, 1977).

[24] The SLR, or Single Lens Reflex camera, allowed the photographer to view his or her potential shot through the lens itself, rather than a separate viewfinder as was the case previously. This enabled focus, distortion and exposure to be better gauged.

[25] Jeffrey, Concise, pp. 178-188. For examples see: Whelan, R., & Capa, C., (Eds.) Robert Capa Photographs (Faber, London, 1985), and Brassai, The Secret Paris of the 1930s (Thames & Hudson, London, 1976).

[26] Rosler, M., "In, around and afterthoughts (on documentary photography)" Bolton, R. (Ed.), The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography (MIT Press, Cambridge Mass., 1989), p. 303.

[27] Grierson, J., Grierson on Documentary (Faber , London, 1979); Newall, B., "A Backward Glance at Documentary" in Featherstone, D., (Ed.) Observations (Friends of Photography, Carmel, 1984), pp. 1-2.

[28] Willis, Picturing, p. 140.

[29] Ibid., p. 191.

[30] Some 720,000 photographs in all taken between 1935 and 1942.

[31] As an example of a triumphalist appreciation see Severin, W., “Photographic Documentation by the Farm Security Administration”, 1935-1942 (MA Thesis, University of Missouri, 1959). For examples of the photos themselves see: Stryker, R., & Wood, N., In This Proud Land. America 1935-43 as seen in the FSA Photographs (New York Graphic Society, Greenwich, 1973).

[32] Severin, “Documentation”, p. 12.

[33] Lange in Ibid., p. 8.

[34] Ibid., p. 17; Daniel, P. et al, Official Images: New Deal Photography (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 1987), p. ix; Stange, M., “The Record Itself” in Daniel, Official, p. 1.

[35] Rexford Tugwell, the then Assistant Secretary for Agriculture and Stryker’s boss, in Severin, “Documentation”, p. 32.

[36] Ibid., p. 37.

[37] Wilson Hicks, an executive editor of Life magazine, in Ibid., p. 33.

[38] Ibid., p. 37; Sontag, S., On Photography (Penguin, New York, 1977), p. 61.

[39] Sontag, Photography, p. 62.

[40] Stange, Symbols, pp. 129-30; Tagg, J., Essays on Photographies and Histories (University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, 1988), pp. 169-70.

[41] Quotes: Steichen and photo-journalist Ralph Steiner in Green, J., American Photography: a Critical History 1945-the Present (Abrams, New York, 1984), p. 40. Ideas: Ibid., pp. 40-42; Phillips, C., “The Judgement Seat of Photography” in Bolton, R., (ed.), The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography (MIT Press, Cambridge Mass., 1989), pp. 27-31. Of note were FSA images of faces originally defiant against rural hardship now recaptioned to redirect their defiance towards the Japanese.

[42] Bayer in Phillips, “Judgement”, p. 25.

[43] 3,000 patrons a day in New York, and 9 Million, in 40 countries worldwide. Green, American, pp. 48.

[44] Interview with photo-journalist Peter Davis 1/8/95, 1/310-20. See also Phillips, “Judgement”, p. 28.

[45] Guimond, J., American Photography and the American Dream (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1991), p. 163.

[46] Phillips, “Judgement”, p. 31; Stange, Symbols, p. 136.

[47] See for example: Sekula, A., “The Traffic in Photographs” in Art Journal No. 41, Spring 1981, pp. 84-109; Barthes, R., Mythologies (Noonday Press, New York, 1972/93), pp. 100-1 & Sontag, Photography, p. 33.

[48] Sekula, “Traffic”, pp. 20-21. He contends that it was used by the American government to counter Russian cultural exports in much the same way as Eva Cockcroft claims Abstract Expressionism was. See Cockcroft, E., “Abstract Expressionism, Weapon of the Cold War” Artforum (New York) 12:10, June 1974, pp. 39-41.

[49] Steichen, E., (ed.), The Family of Man (Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1955), p. 192; Green, American, p. 37.

[50] Both in Green, American, pp. 70 & 82.

[51] L’hamon, W., Deliberate Speed, The Origins of a Cultural Style in the American 1950s (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 1990), pp. 137, 147; Guimond, Dream, p. 162. See also Green, American, p. 51.

[52] Sarup, Guide, pp. 120-122.

[53] Jeffrey, Concise, p. 204; Green, American, p. 118. For examples see: Frank, R., The Americans (Aperture, New York, 1978); Arbus, D., Diane Arbus (Aperture, New York, 1973).

[54] Green, American, pp. 81-82.

[55] Ibid., pp, 90-91; Guimond, Dream, pp. 147-48.

[56] Green, American, pp. 118-19; Guimond, Dream, 214, 220.

[57] Edelson in, Capa, C., (Ed.) The Concerned Photographer 2(Grossman Publishers, New York, 1972) Preface (no pp). In 1974 the ICFP was subsumed into another Capa founded organisation: the International Centre for Photography. See ICP, Encyclopaedia, pp. 151-2.

[58] Willis, Picturing, pp. 7 & 71.

[59] Ibid., p. 36.

[60] Newton, Shades, p. 73.

[61] Willis, Picturing, pp. 58, 63, 68, 71. For an in-depth catalogue see Burke, K., Gold and Silver: An Album of Hill End and Gulgong Photographs from the Holterman Collection (Heinemann, Melbourne, 1973). One must also mention the importance of Bernard Holterman, who had made a fortune on the goldfields, in instigating and underwriting much of this project.

[62] Willis, Picturing, p. 96. A good example is Kelly, M., Faces in the Street: William Street 1916 (Doak Press, Paddington, 1982).

[63] Willis, Picturing, p. 130.

[64] Emmett, “Amateurs”, p. 2.

[65] Cato in Newton, G., Silver and Grey (Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1980), Introduction, p. 5 (no pp). In praise of pictorialism against the inroads of ‘straight photography’ see also the recollections of the English photographer Hilda Newby who wrote in 1945: “Photography these days is simply trying to be alert and no funny business. No chancy shots for the showcase. No daring adventures with the spotlight. No wandering into the ethereal wilderness of soft focus. Oh no!” in Hall, B., Australian Women Photographers 1840-1960 (Greenhouse Press, Richmond, 1986), p. 109.

[66] Willis, Picturing, p. 136. Newton, Shades, p. 105.

[67] Newton, Silver, Intro, p. 5.

[68] Ibid., Intro, p. 7.

[69] Willis, Picturing, pp. 205-13.

[70] Ibid., p. 183.

[71] Ibid., p. 190.

[72] Ibid., p. 193.

[73] Dupain in Newton, Silver, Intro, p. 8.

[74] Newton, Shades, p. 130.

[75] Newton, Silver, Intro, pp. 8-9. It is indicative of the place held by photography that when the Family of Man toured in 1959, its place of exhibition in Melbourne was a car salesroom. It should be noted though that there were not a lot of formal venues for most art forms at this time.

[76] Interview with Wolfgang Sievers 10/8/95, 1/145-60; Willis, Picturing, p. 196.

[77] One exception is Emmett, “Amateurs”, which deliberately sets out to redress the imbalance.

[78] Green, American, p. 39.

[79] Willis, Picturing, pp. 193-94.

[80] Ibid., pp. 217-219.

>>>  Chapter Two





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