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Sinbad the Photographer

by
November 2002, no. 246

Man with a Camera: Frank Hurley Overseas by Helen Ennis

NLA, $34.95 pb, 107 pp

Sinbad the Photographer

by
November 2002, no. 246

During a career that lasted almost sixty years, Frank Hurley (1895–1962) produced thousands of negatives and more than sixty films. He also wrote some twenty books and was an avid diarist. A number of biographies have been written on Hurley, and Helen Ennis, in Man with a Camera: Frank Hurley Overseas, makes no attempt to revisit territory covered in these earlier publications, choosing to focus on a particular aspect of Hurley’s oeuvre: the photographs he took outside Australia. She draws on the extraordinary holdings of Hurley photographs in the National Library of Australia. The book comprises more than seventy full-page images illustrating the range of Hurley’s international work. It also complements John Thompson’s Hurley’s Australia: Myth, Dream, Reality, published by the NLA in 1999.

Hurley is best known, both in Australia and internationally, for his Antarctic photographs. Ennis sets out to inform readers about these and other aspects of his career. Hurley is often referred to as a documentary photographer, but Ennis shows that he was not simply interested in photographing a scene as it appeared before him. For this adventurer, exploration and photography went hand in hand. Hurley was renowned for his skill in combining negatives to create images that captured a scene’s essence. This technical skill was one of the attributes that recommended Hurley to Douglas Mawson and led to his inclusion on the first of six trips to Antarctica. His production of photographs was also informed by his experience as a filmmaker. Throughout his career, he selectively edited and revisited images.

Susan Van Wyk reviews 'Man with a Camera: Frank Hurley Overseas' by Helen Ennis

Man with a Camera: Frank Hurley Overseas

by Helen Ennis

NLA, $34.95 pb, 107 pp

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