Focus: photography & war 1945-2006

An Australian War Memorial Travelling Exhibition

For 150 years photographs have helped define Australia’s military history, and the Australian War Memorial holds some of the most powerful images of our time at war. Hundreds of these photos, taken by some of the world’s best war photographers, can now be seen in a special exhibition and a new book by the Memorial.

Art Exhibition previously on at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in Townsville precinct, Queensland, Australia.
From Friday 27 March 2009 to Sunday 03 May 2009

Trooper Barry Ainsley, 1 Squadron, Special Air Services, applies camouflage cream before a patrol image

Published by anonymous on Thursday 16 April 2009.
Contact the publisher.

The exhibition Focus: photography & war 1945-2006, captures the horror and humanity of military and peacekeeping actions over a turbulent 60-year period, via the lenses of 15 official and freelance photographers.

The book, Contact: photographs from the Australian War Memorial collection, spans almost 150 years of Australia’s military history, and is the most comprehensive work to date surveying what is one of the world’s most extensive photographic archives.

Australian War Memorial Director Steve Gower said the Museum was pleased to be able to share some of the most potent images from its archive with the public through Focus and Contact.

“Photographs have a vital function in the national memory of war. They provide an indelible image of the sacrifice and experience of Australian servicemen and women and portray some of the defining moments in this nation’s history,” he said.

Including the work of Tim Page, Stephen Dupont, David Dare Parker and George Gittoes, Focus: photography and war 1945-2006 features 80 diverse images including some taken after the atomic bomb was dropped above the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945, and in Korea, Vietnam, the Solomon Islands and East Timor.

Exhibition curator Patricia Sabine said the photos “provide an illuminating and complex view of the physical and emotional effects of conflict, on both the Australians who serve and those who live in regions affected by war”.

Contact includes some of the photos in the exhibition but has an even broader scope: documenting the start of Australia’s colonial military history, in 1861, through the First and Second World Wars to the present.

More than 200 images are featured in this extraordinary 300-page book, which also traces the intimate and changing relationship that has existed between war and photography since its invention in the 19th century – as an analytical tool, for propaganda purposes and for revelation.

The Australian War Memorial Travelling Exhibitions program is funded by Saluting Their Service, the Federal Government’s commemorations program, honouring the contribution of Australia’s servicemen and women.


Perc Tucker Regional Gallery