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Influencing Me – Max Dupain

Keeping Guard

Today’s artist is another photographer, he is Australian and worked mainly in the mid 20th century, a time when Australia still retained a lot of its innocence. 

I am not going to lie, I don’t think Max Dupain has influenced me directly, and I don’t think you see his style or approach in my work, but there is something he did that I think we all aspire to.  He is known as an iconic Australian Photographer.  Let me show you what I am talking about.

The SunbakerIf you are Australian and a photographer, then you would have to know this image.  This is the Sunbaker by Max Dupain.  It is an icon of Australian life, it is an iconic image from one of our own.  It is that perfect image that depicted us and who we were.

dupainAs much as we have tried to show that we are a nation of farmers and that rural pastures are meant to define us, the reality is, that we are a nation that didn’t like the country, and Australia has always been one of the most urbanised countries in the world.  Getting people to go and work in the country has always been a struggle.

00193387Max Dupain photographed us as we actually were, and we have always been those that loved the beach, that loved the water and loved the coast.  He photographed people in summer doing what many do.

We have always referred to ourselves as the Sunburnt country and the beach culture was all part of that.

95224When I think about Australian photography and the history, his name always comes up.

For me he is the Australian photographer or the idea of the photographer that I want to be.  Let me show you that image again.

The SunbakerHow many of us want to be known for a particular image, or a series of images.  I would love one of my images to become an iconic image that inspires future generations of photographers.  That would be the ultimate dream.

I have not taken photos like Dupain, and I haven’t taken photos of life as he did, but as I read some information about him, which you can also read here,  I discovered he loved architectural photography and that was his true passion.  Interesting that he loved that, but is know for a man lying on a beach sunbaking.

Down the Back StragihtFor me summer has been synonymous with cycling for the last few years, and this was a scene I took down at a beach in Geelong this past summer, it is one you have seen before, along with this next one.

Keeping GuardDupain lived in Sydney and the beach culture there is very different to us in the south, but a hot day, regardless of where you are always drives us to the water and he captured that so well.  Photographing beaches now has become a lot harder with issues of copyright and privacy.  It is so much harder to just do what he did.

More research needs to be done and I look forward to learning more about Max Dupain and his photography.  I might have to do a second post on him.

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49 Comments Post a comment
  1. I really like these “Influencing Me…” posts. They’re a great idea and a wonderful way to acknowledge those who inspired and influenced your work as an artist. As a student of 20th Century Photography I learned a small bit about Dupain and I have seen the Sunbaker before. But your insight into him and also, your country through his photographs is a much deeper experience. Thank you again for another wonderful post.

    March 25, 2013
  2. I really enjoyed seeing Dupain’s work, and I always like seeing your cycling photos. That was a treat.

    March 25, 2013
  3. Great photos of Dupain! Love his B/W photos! Thanks for sharing ;)

    March 25, 2013
  4. Very interesting Leanne!
    I wonder if B/W images, in some way, have become synonymous with a more innocence time.
    thanks

    March 25, 2013
    • I hadn’t thought of that, it is an interesting idea.

      March 25, 2013
  5. leo brady #

    Great info Leanne.
    I wonder if B/W images somehow remind us of those innocent times you mentioned.
    B/W seems to strip out the distraction of color and forces us to focus on the subject or what’s the photographer is trying to say.
    Of course color has it’s own strengths as well.
    thanks

    March 25, 2013
  6. Great to learn about a photographer whose work I’ve seen but didn’t know. Thanks!

    March 25, 2013
  7. Hanno Phenn #

    It is wonderful to see these pictures here they are a true inspiration for new fresh and fun pictures.

    March 25, 2013
  8. Nice photos – a silkly, sandy beach looks inviting no matter where it is!

    March 25, 2013
  9. Suzanne #

    Aussie photographers I love. Sue Ford, David Moore, Rennie Ellis and Sam Hood. They all gave us wonderful insight into who we are. Really enjoying your blog as well only being following a short time. Suzanne

    March 25, 2013
  10. What a marvellous photographer. I had never heard of him before this post but I can quite see why he’s been influential.

    March 25, 2013
  11. So interesting to learn about your country through your photography and ‘predecessors’. It is a point of view I am looking at as a traveler. I will find out more through your posts as I am following…

    March 25, 2013
    • I try and approach my blog as one photographer to another, and to show people visiting here what can be photographed, especially on my weekend posts.

      March 26, 2013
  12. I love this series Leanne. I’m getting to ‘meet’ artists I might never have heard of, if not for you.

    March 25, 2013
    • That is so good to hear. I have to admit I have been quite surprised at how popular these posts are, it is great that others enjoy them.

      March 26, 2013
  13. Cool post.

    March 25, 2013
  14. Max Dupain is probably THE iconic Aussie photographer for me. I got to see an exhibition of some of his prints a while ago – quite an experience!

    March 25, 2013
  15. I like the idea of you doing “influencing me” posts…I’m not familiar with many great photographers so these posts are shall we say educational…I like his sun bather…I can see why it is famous… :)

    March 25, 2013
    • It has been great how much people seem to enjoy these posts.

      March 26, 2013
  16. leo brady #

    Reblogged this on realreality productions – boston, ma.

    March 25, 2013
  17. The Sunbaker is a wonderful image and I have never heard of Dupain. Oddly for myself (an amateur at that) find people like yourself and your blog an inspiration – your photos – thoughts and ideas inspire and encourage me to that (hopefully) next level.

    March 25, 2013
    • That is great, but I think it is also good to see what inspires me, and they too might inspire you one day. There are some amazing photographers out there and artists.

      March 26, 2013
  18. Thanks for the introduction – very interesting photographer!

    March 26, 2013
  19. I think the whole world agrees with this. Beaches are awesome.

    March 26, 2013
  20. Love to see where other photographers get their inspiration. You inspire me with your bike/ferris wheel photo.

    March 26, 2013
  21. Leanne, I’m sure you will have a chance at having an iconic work… I love these “who influenced me and how” almost as much as the tutorials. LOL (But that’s another story) I certainly have to say I’m one of your biggest fans and have been ever since I found you on WP. You have inspired me to TRY to start taking better raw pictures and then I an learn how to dramatize them. Thanks, as always, for all your help! :D

    March 26, 2013
    • Thank you Keli, what a lovely thing to say, it is nice to know that influence others, that means a lot.

      March 26, 2013
  22. Great intro to a photographer I’ve not encountered before! Inspires me to find out more

    March 26, 2013
  23. What I loved about this post was how your thoughts about this iconic image and set of images led you to observations about your national culture. Well done! It’s hard to take pictures that others will see as capturing the essence of a people. Do you think it might often be a matter of accident?

    March 26, 2013
    • I have no idea, to tell you the truth, he really did capture us at a very innocent time. Makes them very special in that perspective.

      March 26, 2013
  24. Interesting post, Leanne – I’ve never heard of him but I like his pictures. Adrian

    March 28, 2013
  25. Great inspiration and love that you include a nod to other photogs

    March 28, 2013
  26. Dupain classics. Great!

    March 29, 2013
  27. Ironic that it’s almost impossible to take pictures like Dupain did in todays paranoid Australia. It’s getting harder and harder to get images from every day life, particularly at the beach. Totally love his work.

    March 29, 2013
    • That is so true. People’s paranoia is unbelievable.

      March 29, 2013
      • his son Rex gave several interviews a few years ago lamenting the loss of freedom to take the shots his father did – I can’t find the one I wanted, but heres another of the same ilk. http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/photographer-battles-to-stay-in-the-picture-20101109-17lyk.html

        Its a great shame. Thank you for continuing to bring these great photographers back to the light – people need to realise what they have lost.

        March 29, 2013
      • The rules are getting stricter and stricter, it is getting annoying for photographers. I hate the idea that I am some sicko just because I take photos. I am glad that I don’t love street photography.

        March 29, 2013
  28. They do seem halcyon times looking at those images Leanne ! I had not heard of Max Dupain but your examples of his work make me more curious to find out more .
    Iconic Image yes I can see that totally .

    March 31, 2013
    • Just put his name into Google and you will see lots about him and on his work.

      March 31, 2013
  29. Thanks for sharing these. Dupain’s composition is beautiful and enough to inspire anyone to want to improve their photographic eye.

    April 3, 2013
  30. Love those older pictures! Sometimes I wish I was in that time period HAHA! I was born at the wrong time I think :P

    April 4, 2013
    • I think we all go through that, but then when I think about other things, the way women were treated, for example, I am not so sure. I like the freedom I have, but I have heard it was a golden time. In Australia especially. I don’t know about the states.

      April 4, 2013
      • Yeah I do agree with that, I also think about the wars and that would have been hard to live through all that.. haha! Guess the grass is always greener right?

        April 4, 2013
      • Yes, that is so true, My daughter always thinking she would like to live a hundred or two hundred years ago, she likes the clothes, but she has a phobia about toilets and you point that out to her, she says, mmm maybe not. haha.

        April 4, 2013
      • She has an old soul :) But yes so many things we have now that I very much appreciate LOL

        April 4, 2013
      • LOL

        April 4, 2013
  31. I like black and white images, they have a good contrast.

    April 4, 2013

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