Through a different lens – Cazneaux by the water

Enter the world of photographer Harold Cazneaux, 100 years ago.

Photographer Harold Cazneaux (1878-1953) is a giant in the history of Australian photography. 

In the early 1900s he became a passionate advocate for photography as art, rather than a mechanical recording process. 

Water too interested him. It was the perfect medium for his experimentations with creating mood, atmosphere and impression on the picture plane. This exhibition of more than 42 original pieces presents this aspect of Cazneaux's art, reflecting how water, harbour and coastline fits within his work, his signature pictorial photographic style and his foray into modernism and abstract form.

Cazneaux’s photographs include his early experimentations from 1904, poetic river and harbour scenes featuring larger muscular industrial waterscapes, boating views, ferry wharves, wharf workers and bridge views. There are also river and coastal landscapes from his various travels, including along the Murray River and to South Australia in the 1930s. 

The exhibition features items from the museum’s collection recently donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Anne Christoffersen in memory of the artist.

Image: Sydney Harbour scenes: boy on a raft by Harold Cazneaux, 1905. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Anne Christoffersen, in memory of the artist. ANMM Collection 00054641.