Photography and Australia


‘This is a first-rate book. It reproduces some superb and utterly distinctive imagery.’ – Sebastian Smee, Art Newspaper

With its moving landscapes and famously independent cultural traditions, Australia is uniquely suited to having its national narrative told through visual documentation. Helen Ennis gathers here a selection of photographs that recount the story of Australia, and through this visual chronicle, she uncovers a distinctively Australian visual culture.

220 x 190 mm
144 pages
80 illustrations, 20 in colour
ISBN: 9781861893239
Published by Reaktion Books

Table of Contents


1. First Photographs
2. Black to Blak
3. Land and Landscape
4. Being Modern
5. Made in Australia
6. Localism and Internationalism
7. The Presence of the Past

Photo Acknowledgements


Part of the Exposures photography series. Click here to view other titles.
Mentioned in Unreliable witness, review for A Century in Focus 1840s-1940s: South Australian photography for The Australian.


Media Culture review: Photography and Australia – History through Image

‘This is an excellent survey of the major developments, practitioners and icons of Australian photography, providing a wide-ranging, inclusive overview . . . Generously illustrated with eighty images, and written in a clear, accessible style, seven chapters cover themes and periods ranging across the entire span of photographic practice in Australia since 1841, and constituting a valuable introduction to the medium’s main developments in broad historical context.’

– Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

‘Helen Ennis weaves together eighty photographs to thoughtfully argue for the centrality of photographic image-making to the Australian experience of being a settler nation . . . Ennis is to be commended for providing a thought-provoking work about the multiple visual histories of, and in, photography that emerged from Australia, and by which pasts, presents and futures of the nation are being negotiated.’

– Pacific Affairs

Available from

Reaktion Books
Google Books

Shearers Bookshop Sydney