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Charles White

Charles White


Artist biography

A black and white portrait photograph of a young white man. He is visible from the shoulders up. He appears to be wearing a dark t-shirt. He has dark, tousled hair. He looks at the camera. His expression is neutral. The background in the photo is plain.

Charles White is currently in his second year of a Bachelor in Visual Arts (Photo Media) at the Australian National University.

His work has been published in the Canberra Times and in Voiceworks magazine.

Artist statement

The text is from Douglas Mawson's account of his 1911-1914 Australasian-Antarctic expedition, The Home of the Blizzard.

What intrigued me about this passage was the inherent gap between Mawson's personal experience of the event and our reading about it. All Mawson had to communicate the intensity of the situation with was a typewriter keyboard.

The silhouettes are figures from Frank Hurley's photos of Mawson's expedition. What struck me about Hurley's photos was the tremendous whiteness they captured. Mawson and co. are rendered as small black silhouettes; blemishes on a vast white wilderness.

Artist work

Title: Ninnis

Medium: Silver gelatin photogram
Dimensions: 25.4cm x 20.3cm (x6)
Date: April 2009

A black and white photogram. In the centre of the image is an old style typewriter keyboard with round keys. Each key is seen as a white circle with a letter in it. To the left and below of the keyboard is the negative image of what appears to be two men sitting at a campsite. Under the men is text which says 'When I looked back, it was in response to the anxious gaze of Mertz who had turned round and halted in his tracks.'

Artist inspiration

Frank Hurley's camera

In 1929 Australian photographer Frank Hurley boarded the steam yacht Discovery at London's East India Dock and embarked on his third voyage to Antarctica. Hurley was official cinematographer to the British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE).

He spent the next two years recording life on board the Discovery, the Antarctic scenery and wildlife, and the scientific work of the expedition. Hurley purchased the Debrie camera especially for the expedition. He used it to make a 'talkie' called Siege of the South. This film premiered in Brisbane in 1931, bringing the alien world of the Antarctic home to Australian audiences.

A rectangular box-shaped motion picture camera with a hand-crank and glass lens. The camera's metal body is silver with black side panels and has external slides, levers and dials for adjustment and operation. 'Le Parvo Modele L' is stamped in the metal plate beneath the lens at the front of the camera.
Debrie Parvo model L 35mm hand-crank movie camera used by Frank Hurley.
Photo: George Serras.