Max DupainMax Dupain (1911- 1992) is considered as one of the greatest Australian photographers whose method of photography was defined by simplicity, and directness. This led to the creation of images characterized by sharp focus, boldness, and graphic composition. Photography made him one of the earliest and most exceptional champions of modernism in Australia. His work was characterized by decades of commercial and artistic success considering that his repertoire was inclusive of landscapes, nudes, beaches, architecture and still life. Architecture was one of his favourite elements of photography and for more than 50 years, he was a pre-eminent architectural photographer of Australia.
The main objective of this essay is to analyse three key works by Dupain in relation to the aesthetic ideas, the notion of Australian identity, social and political climate prevalent at the time. National Carillon, Canberra, 1970This is a photograph taken by Dupain in 1970. Located in Aspen Island, which is part of Lake Burley Griffin. The National Carillion is of great political and historical significance to Australia considering that it was a gift given by the British government in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Australians capital in 1913.
The British were the colonial masters of Australiana and their dominance in this region was characterized by the desire to implement the British political and social practices in the governance of the Australian population. The formation of the Federation in 1901 led to the formulation of parliament, which was sitting in Melbourne Exhibition building considering that a national capital was yet to be decided. The government of New South Wales commissioned a report that suggested the possible locations for the government of the New Commonwealth of Australia. This report suggested Bombala, Orange and Yass-Canberra.
In 1980, a decision was made for the option of Yass-Canberra by the Commonwealth parliament. The government dispatched a surveyor whose mandate was to not only assess the viability of the location and its strategic significance as a capital but also to choose a location within Canberra that was picturesque and distinctive. Following the recommendations by the surveyor, Canberra was declared the Australian Capital Territory in 1911and the governing invited domestic and international designers to provide their perceptions on the architectural design of the new city by organizing and international contest.
More than 100 entries were submitted. Burley Griffin, an American architect, submitted the winning entry. Following the establishment of Canberra as the capital, the first Commonwealth parliament session began was in 1927. The decision to choose Canberra as the capital of Australia was based on the understanding that the region enjoyed good governance and the citizens understood of their constitutional rights and obligations. This made the area relatively peaceful for conducting government business.
In addition, through the efforts by the New South Wales government it became possible to establish the Australian capital in Canberra because it was strategically located for conducting government business. In 1970, Dupain captured the uninterrupted view of the building, which was considered as a demonstration of the efforts that the Australian government had made in providing effective governance to the diverse Australian population. From a historical perspective, Canberra was home to part of the Aboriginal population in Australia.