Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Week 7 - Frank Hurley
"Transforming the real world into images"
Frank Hurley was an Australian war photographer who endeavored through both World Wars, among other expeditions, such as the first Australian exhibition to the Antarctic.
His works work a constant source of conflict as viewers, other photographers and professionals debated the ethicality of using multiple negatives, or composites, to represent visual scenes such as battlefields.
In reference to the video 'Frank Hurley: The man that made history', it was noted that professionals were torn over whether Hurley was "A conjurer with a camera" or a master of the visual arts. Although Hurley never attempted to hide the fact that he was using composites to add drama to his visual scenes, there was a strong feeling of untruthfulness associated with his work, and much of it was branded fake.
Hurley, however, did not see his composites as untruthful visual captures, arguing that he could not possibly capture the vast scales in which he was working with single exposures, and was using an artistic angle as well as the actuality of the imagery to create a sense of relative size and dramatics. This led him to use his dark room skills to manipulate his images using a palette of patterns, usually associated with the sky, to add effects and impact. His work being referred to as a combination of photography + cinema + historical painting, using the battlefield as his canvas.
Hurley was also involved in the initial introduction of documentary stylings, documenting a whole range of human existence on his adventures and was also one of the first to use colour in war photography.