Not A Photography Exhibition

Review: Visual Arts
Points of Focus: Historic Photographs from the Pacific

University of Sydney, Macleay Museum

This exhibition is advertised as being of historic photographs from the Pacific spanning a century beginning from the late 1850s. With these words both in advertising and online, the expectations were for an extensive exhibition of photographs of the pacific islands.

This advertising for this exhibition is totally misleading.

In one corner, there are four beautiful photographs, such as above, and a case of photographic paraphernalia, and that’s it.  The vast majority of this display is made up of information panels with loads of education materials being text and accompanied by display versions of copies of photographs. There are no more actual photographs to be enjoyed.

The dozen or more drop down panels are well made and serve an education purpose. The reproductions and texts might as well as have been used to produce a small booklet. The theme seems to be about the wonderful world of colonial pacific and how the colonists were doing wonderful things for the natives.  Hmm!

So my warning to photographic lovers is that this so-called exhibition is not an exhibition of historic photographs. It is an educational display that uses panel quality reproductions of the photographs in conjunction with texts to tell the story of the colonies in the pacific. It is definitely not an exhibition of photographs. The advertising is false.

This display is very disappointing for a person interested in photography, and very frustrating for one who went there interested in viewing actual photographs from this area and period!

Given that the Macleay Museum is not the easiest to get to, and that  you must climb many steps to the poky room on the top floor when you get there, this whole exercise is not fitting for a high profile university. Shame on whoever put together their false marketing.

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Not Recommended: Rating 0/10

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Paul Costigan, 10 March 2014.

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