MAX DUPAIN: THE PIONEER OF MODERNISM IN AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY
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Capturing the architecture, the landscape, the beaches and the cities of Australia and creating images of sharp focus, boldness and graphic composition with simplicity and directness, the Australian photographer, Max Spencer Dupain, is celebrated as one of the earliest and most outstanding champions of modernism in Australia.
Best known for his photographs of Australian and their beach culture, Dupain was born on April 22, 1911, in Ashfield, Sydney. He exhibited his first landscape photographs while attending grammar school, studied at the East Sydney Technical College and the Julian Ashton Art School from 1933-35. While in 1930, he commenced a three-year apprenticeship with Sydney photographer Cecil Bostock.
During World War II Dupain left his fashion and portrait photography studio to work for the army camouflage unit. From 1945-47, he worked for the Australian Department of Information, photographing Australia’s way of life as part of a campaign to increase migration to Australia.
Upon his return to studio work in 1947, Dupain de-emphasized picturesque landscapes and portraiture in favor of the more abstract architectural and industrial imagery that established him as one of Australia’s most significant Modernist photographers.
Dupain's work was featured in numerous exhibitions and retrospectives, notably an exhibit at the Photographer’s Gallery in London that celebrated his 80th birthday. He was made an officer of the order of the British Empire in 1982 and in 1983 he was awarded a life membership with The Royal Australian Institute of Architects.
Dupain's philosophy could be summed up in two words, simplicity and directness. Dupain remained an adherent of black and white photography. He felt that color was restricting in its objectivity and that nothing was left for individual interpretation. He continued to photograph until a few months before his death in July, 1992.