By Belinda Hungerford
On this day forty years ago, ACP opened its doors for the first time at 76a Paddington Street, Paddington.
Margaret Whitlam travelled up from Canberra to open the gallery and according to esteemed photography curator Gael Newton, gave a very humorous speech. Director Graham Howe concurred and in his thank you letter to Margaret wrote “After that long journey by road and on such a hot day and after only two glasses of champagne your speech was brilliant.”
People such as Max Dupain, Harry Seidler, Fiona Hall, Robert McFarlane, Daniel Thomas, Graham McCarter, the artists appearing in the exhibition and many many others, attended the opening. The guests feasted on pâté crocks and French bread, crudités with mayonnaise, smoked salmon on rye bread and rare beef with mustard and horseradish on two varieties of bread. The drinks list included Grange, lemonade, soda, beer, red wine, white wine, champagne and scotch. Not a bad party!
The inaugural exhibition, Aspects of Australian Photography, was an examination of work by six younger photographers who were selected to suggest some of the dimensions of recent Australian photography. The photographers included were Ian Dodd, Ken Middleton, Grant Mudford, Max Pam, Philip Quirk and John Walsh. The exhibition ran from 21 November 1974 to 18 January 1975 and over 2000 people visited. A book was published in conjunction with the exhibition and was awarded “Merit” in the Black and White Duotone category at the 1975 Printing Industries Craftsmen Association awards.
The exhibition subsequently toured to Newcastle City Art Gallery, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Benalla Art Gallery and Horsham Art Gallery.
Image 1: The ACP at 76a Paddington St, Paddington © ACP
Image 2: Invitation to the opening of the Australian Centre for Photography and the inaugural exhibition Aspects of Australian Photography © ACP
Image 3: Margaret Whitlam and Graham Howe at the opening of ACP (ACP co-founder and photographer David Moore is on the left) © Arthur McLean and ACP
Image 4: Margaret Whitlam and Graham Howe looking at the work of Ken Middleton © Arthur McLean and ACP
Image 5: Graham Howe giving a speech at the opening of ACP © Arthur McLean and ACP