About the exhibition staged at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum
6 April 2018 - 14 October 2018
Guest Curators: Gael Newton & Paul Costigan
This medium size exhibition is in the first two rooms to the left as you enter the gallery/museum.
This exhibition covers two aspects of the life of James Frances Hurley. First is his very early life in Sydney (circa 1910-1911) as a photographer and publisher of postcards – and then the story jumps forward to 1948 to his later life after he moved to Collaroy Plateau where he published numerous books, photographs and postcards – as well as being a passionate gardener and collector of Australian native plants.
In bringing this exhibition to Manly we were very mindful that the story of the early life of James Francis Hurley (1885–1962) as a professional photographer, previous to his 1911 departure with Douglas Mawson for the Antarctic, has been very much overshadowed by the well documented stories about his later life and adventures.
This exhibition is not about Hurley's World War photographs or those from his adventures south to Antarctica.
The exhibition starts with the point that in the early years of the 20th Century Frank Hurley was a commercial photographer and postcard publisher known among the profession and the amateur societies for his enthusiastic and energetic approach to making the “Perfect Picture”.
Somewhere in these early years Hurley developed an interest in Australian native plants and it is this passion that led to his later life on the Northern Beaches of Sydney being dominated by his collection and propagation of native plants.
The exhibition is structured to provide key bookends to Frank Hurley’s life:
The first focus being on his photography and postcards in and around Sydney and the Northern Beaches, including Manly.
The second being on the photographs and postcards that reflect his lifelong engagement with and passion for Australian native plants.
We have sourced digital files of Hurley’s photographs from the National Library of Australia, original materials from descendants of Frank and Antoinette Hurley; The postcards and other publications are from our personal collections.
The larger photographs in the exhibition are not original photographs as printed by Frank Hurley. Instead the photographs have been printed from digitally remastered files; this has allowed them to to be enlarged for the exhibition.
Luckily Sydney has a fabulous fine art printer who understands photography.
The large black & white and colour photographs were expertly and lovingly printed by Warren Macris of High Res Digital (Mascot).
The curators acknowledge the support of Katherine Roberts of the Manly Art Gallery & Museum, the support of Frank Hurley’s descendants, the National Library of Australia for the files of the black & white photographs, as well as the expertise of Warren Macris of High Res Digital who oversaw the printing of the photographs.
Co-Curators: Gael Newton & Paul Costigan