Vintage Colin Farrell Portrait, Among Others, On View At Australian National Portrait Gallery

Posted by David Ozanich — 2 May 2011


A new show in Australia is highlighting the work of hard-living, self-described "dirty old poof" Stuart Campbell. He started as an actor but then began photographing his young compatriots in the arts, like Colin Farrell (above). Together, many of these actors, directors, etc. were part of the Australian New Wave, a renaissance of cinema from Down Under that began in the 1980s.

The National Portrait Gallery, Canberra has mounted "Between Light and Shadow: Portraits by Stuart Campbell". The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

A NIDA graduate who discovered he was a better photographer than he was an actor, Campbell, who died in 2009, earned a living taking arresting photos of his friends and contemporaries to help them land jobs.

''They are utterly simple,'' Desmond says of the images. ''They have a classic feel. There is no Photoshop; there is no fancy lighting. The black edges on them are a device that says, 'This is an honest shot.' This is the extent of the negative. No mucking around. That sort of honesty was what he was offering.''

''I think he made beautiful photographs but I don't think he was making them so he could be in an art gallery,'' Desmond says. ''I think he saw himself as a working photographer. He was doing what most photographers do, which is recording a particular reality, being conscious of a particular moment and capturing it to savour later.''

Campbell, seen in a self portrait below, refused to transition to digital technology.

''Every morning you would find him hungover as a bastard, hand-retouching every single photo ...'' Burke says. ''But his photos would always capture a moment that could never be regained.''

The show is on view until July 17th. You can see more of his portraits, including recent Oscar nominee Jackie Weaver at the National Portrait Gallery's website.


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