Friday, January 15, 2010

Frank Hurley and iconic Australian images

Photos from the Australian National Library collection

The photographs were taken on the Western Front during the Great War of 1914-1918 by Australian photographer Frank Hurley. Alasdair McGregor's book Frank Hurley: A Photographers Life provides a warts and all view of Hurley. Hurley for example, sometimes added staged scenes, composites and photographic manipulation to some his photos for dramatic effect. But reading McGregor's books is a reminder of the majestic quality of many of his images.

His photograph of men going up the line on the Western Front (probably to their needless death) is powerful and haunting.

Hurley's photos of WW 1 and WW 2 are well known. His photographs of the Western Front are iconic images of Australian history. Hurley was an official photographer in both wars. Hurley was also famous for his photographs of the Shackleton Endurance and Mawson Antarctic expeditions.

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