Picture in Print 1976 & 2022

Australian Photo-History Publications

I have unearthed an essay from 1976 which was a commentary about photo-history books available at the time.

This was published in the magazine Australian Photography – a contemporary view, edited by Laurence Le Guay.

That essay we have now uploaded to our photo-web site as an online version of the original

Click on the link to see that online version –  ‘Pictures in Print’.

More recently I was looking through my shelf of Australian photo-histories that includes Jack Cato’s 1955 ‘The Story of the Camera in Australia’ the first book length history of photography in Australia.

In 1986 I wrote an article for Photofile about this book and how it came about.

The article was titled A Story of the Story and was based on the correspondence between Jack Cato and Keast Burke. This we had previously uploaded to our web site – click here.

Magazines both for the amateur and professional market whether corporate, commercial publishers or arts grants, have all played a role in promoting awareness of photographic heritage, past and present-day individual photographers or debate on the medium’s role in visual culture.

Monographs on photographers, museum and academic studies were rarities before the 1980s. A rich array of online resources and publications now exist.

In parallel to the photo-history publications, photobooks as a genre of contemporary practice have emerged as a significant genre as have studies of exhibitions and picture magazines in recent decades.

The role of Australian photo-history books could do with some more research. Therefore, I am now considering building on my 1976 original essay and investigating the feasibility of putting together a timeline about the evolution of Australian photohistory through books and magazines.

I see the first question will be which publications were the first to present retrospective accounts of early photographers and the role of the medium.

Work to be done – a new challenge. Watch this space.


One thought on “Picture in Print 1976 & 2022

  1. I look forward to your further contributions, which cannot be overlooked as significant, to the History of Photography in Australia. I currently work with graduates of photography in my role as Santa. When I first commenced work after graduating I too performed their role. My passion then and now is the history of photography. I ask these current graduates of their knowledge of early Australian photography, they have none. I explain that the foundation of any art practice lies in its history. The female photographers did not know of Sally Mann, Cindy Sherman, Tracey Moffatt but one knew of Dianne Arbus. How then would they be aware of Olive Cotton, Carol Jerrems etc. It seems the current generation is only familiar with personalities and events within their own time. Your work is so important to inform them.

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