April 22, 2012
I've been searching for pictures of Frank Hurley in Adelaide, given my work on my book on Adelaide. Most of Hurley's Adelaide work--a city portrait-- is pretty pedestrian--a celebration of modernization (Adelaide University) and a representation of the statutes of imperial wars. This is one of the more interesting pictures:
Frank Hurley, Rundle Street, Adelaide, NLA
Hurley represented Australia as a privileged place, open, spacious, rich in resources and with a manifest destiny to achieve greatness—'the most valuable acquisition Great Britain ever made'. In this last phase of his life --the 1950s he created a large body of work which reflected his own obsessive celebration of the land, the people and the abundant opportunity of Australia.
John Thompson says that the definitive Hurley title during these latter years was Australia: A Camera Study first published in 1955. It Similarly from the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s Hurley published camera studies of Queensland (1950), Western Australia (1953), Tasmania (1953) and Victoria (1956) as well as for Sydney (1948) and the Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves (1952).
Frank Hurley, War Memorial, North Terrace , Adelaide, NLA
Thompson says that in the Australia: A Camera Study text:
Hurley's purpose and his overall interpretation was largely celebratory. He presented a vision of wide open spaces, successful rural industries, the happy assimilation of migrant families, industrial development, modern spacious cities and a well-ordered but highly conformist society.
Australia was a modern and dynamic country premised on the commercial exploitation of the country's abundant natural resources.