Jeff Carter: State Library of New South Wales
The exhibition Beach, Bush + Battlers at the State Library of New South Wales is a tribute to Australian photographer Jeff Carter. He worked as a photojournalist from the mid-1950s and his work was published in national and international magazines. However, it hasn’t been until relatively recently that his work has been shown in gallery spaces.
Jeff Carter’s photographs exude an empathy with his subjects – some of whom became life-long friends. As I progressed through the exhibition, and read the detailed notes accompanying each photo, other reasons for his easy, intimate style emerged – on some occasions he was actually doing the job he was photographing!
Some of the images are beautiful, candid portraits. Others record a time and way of life that has already departed. Within this collection also reside images that are strikingly iconic like the surfers on Bondi beach. Sadly, Jeff Carter died last year so didn’t get to see this exhibit, but I hope galleries in other countries decide to bring this work to audiences outside Australia.
Something I’m personally interested in is photographers that are able to create great images while working in their own backyard – which is something Jeff Carter quite clearly achieved during his many years of dedicated work, telling the story of his homeland.
Until I arrived in Australia for the first time, all the images that came to mind of this hard and sun-bleached country were in colour. Now, after seeing Jeff Carter’s work many of the images I carry with me will be in black-and-white.