Exhibition: A Feat of Daring – David Moore’s Tribute to the ANZAC Bridge
Customs House. Sydney
until 15 January 2015
Photographer David Moore (1927–2003) admitted to being ‘possessed totally’ by the building of the Glebe Island (now ANZAC) Bridge. Motivated by a familiarity with both Henri Mallard’s construction record of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Peter Stackpole’s ‘sharp and vital’ documentation of San Francisco’s Oakland Bay Bridge, from the day Moore noticed work had started on the Bridge project he seized on it as his own, gaining unrestricted access to the site and giving over 3 intense years of his life to its meticulous documentation. His writings express awe for the engineering enterprise capable of producing ‘the splendid bravado evident in the vault through space’. His images betray not only a perception fine-honed in the appreciation of architectural structure and form but importantly, in Murray Waldren’s words, ‘they are a melding of emotion and interpretation, analysis and insight’. For the construction workers with their dedication and professionalism Moore reserved a special admiration and a strong camaraderie. As Waldren has observed: ‘There’s a rapport with work and with workers here which raises the pictures beyond the record into the emblematic’.
David Moore was born beside the Harbour, grew up to be captivated by it and photographed it extensively from boyhood on. His chosen career in photo-journalism would lead to international recognition and renown and eventually, at home, to a Keating Fellowship. Over five decades, Waldren asserts, Moore’s photographs have helped define our visual vocabulary; what’s more, through his international exposure his work has been a valid and valuable aspect of our cultural emancipation.