Missingham was born in Claremont, Western Australia, and first
studied art in Perth under J. W. R. Linton from 1922-26.
then trained as a process engraver until he was able to work a
passage to Europe in 1926.
He studied art at Academie Julien in
the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London until 1937. He
also taught graphic arts subjects at Central School and the Westminster
School of Arts from 1933-40, as well as working as a freelance
designer from 1935.
Missingham designed posters for the London
Transport and General Post Office Departments, the Orient Line
and Shell Mex.
took up photography in 1933 as an aid to his graphic design but
was soon working on photo-journalistic
one for Sphere magazine on the Spanish Civil War in 1936. He
returned to Perth in 1940 and held a joint exhibition of work in
spirit with Axel Poignant.
He moved to Sydney in 1941 and did
extensive photo-surveys for Pix magazine and the Department of
He had become interested in naturalist photography and published
first of a number of photographic books, Animal Anthology, in
enlisted for war service between 1943 and 1945 and then took up
a position as Director of the Art Gallery of New
Wales in 1945.
He continued his photography and was part of
the Six Photographers’ group’s
exhibition of documentary work in 1955. As well as exhibiting,
Missingham contributed forewords to Max Dupain-Photographs
in 1948 and Australian
Photography 1947 and 1957.
As well, he produced a number of
art books and catalogues for the Art Gallery of New South Wales
on various art committees.
He was also a founder of the Studio
of Realist Artists in 1945. He retired from the Art Gallery
of NSW in
the 1970s Missingham concentrated on the publication of a number
of photographic books beginning with My Australia
and Reader’s Digest books on Australia in 1976-77,
Blackboys and Blackgins, 1976, Like a Bower Bird, 1977, Close
1970 and Design Focus, 1978, most of which are in colour.
many awards for his services to art, Missingham received
an Order of Australia in 1978. A retrospective exhibition
of his black
and white work was held at Farmer’s Blaxland Gallery
text based on Gaël Newton's Silver & Grey
Angus and Roberston, Australia 1980