Max Dupain

The ABR Podcast 

Released every Thursday, the ABR podcast features our finest reviews, poetry, fiction, interviews, and commentary.

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Beejay Silcox

Episode #92

‘Those shelves have power’

Beejay Silcox on Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wassef

‍In 2002, Nadia Wassef founded – with her sister, Hind, and their friend, Nihal – the Cairo-based independent bookstore Diwan. Wassef’s memoir, Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller, is a record of the setbacks and success of the store’s creation, while also an insight into a nation simmering with revolutionary politics. In today’s episode, ABR critic Beejay Silcox, who spent several years living in Egypt, describes in a personal review how she stumbled upon Diwan on her first night in Cairo: ‘a pocket of alphabetised calm in the city’s ever-roiling chaos’.




Recent episodes:

The Australian modernist photographer Max Dupain is commonly known for his sweltering photograph Sunbaker, which offered the nation one of its most iconic beach images. In today’s episode, Helen Ennis reads her essay ‘Max Dupain’s dilemmas’, which was commended in the 2021 Calibre Essay Prize. It explores the breadth of Dupain’s work beyond Sunbaker, as well as his own grapplings with self-doubt and his complicated perspectives on life and travel.

Helen Ennis is Emeritus Professor at the ANU Centre for Art History and Art Theory and a past ABR Fellow. She is an independent photography curator and writer specialising in the area of Australian photographic practice. She is currently writing a biography of Max Dupain.

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Max Dupain, one of Australia’s most accomplished photographers, was filled with self-doubt. He told us so – repeatedly – in public commentary, especially during the 1980s, in the last years of his life. It is striking how candid he was, how personal, verging on the confessional, and how little attention we paid to what he said, either during his lifetime or since (he died in 1992, aged eighty-one).

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Helen Ennis writes at length about the great modernist photographer Olive Cotton and her second marriage to Ross McInerney, which took her far from the art world – and from her art. ... (read more)

Max Dupain’s Australia by Max Dupain & Max Dupain’s Australian Landscapes by Max Dupain

November 1988, no. 106

One of the characters in Stephen Spender’s novel The Temple, written in the early 1930s, is a young German photographer. They met in Hamburg in 1929. Spender, a university student just discovering the autobiographical bent of his own inspiration, observed that his friend’s attitude was very different. Instead of wanting to preserve the sensuality of the moment in monumental form, the German photographer set out to report the opposite – the death of every moment – which, at the time of being lived, is also passing. His photographs, he told Spender, were not intended to live, they were not communicative. Records of moments already gone at the click of a shutter, they annihilated even memory. Or were intended to do so.

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