One of Australia’s great portrait photographers has been honoured by one of Australia’s great photography and works on paper galleries – Josef Lebovic Gallery. Heide Smith should be well known to anyone following quality Australian photography over the past 40+ years.
Just being featured in the catalogue (Collectors’ List No. 188, 2017) was indeed a pleasure, but to find myself side-by-side with the late, great Max Dupain was equally exciting. I am unworthy of such a comparison!
The Lebovic catalogues are legendary in their recording of Australian works on paper and photography. As a reference point for costings and valuations it is the “go-to” document for anyone trying to place a dollar figure on photographs. The photos of Dupain and myself is part of a much larger body of work that was sponsored by Ilford Australia recording photographers from around Australia and subsequently as an exhibition which toured Australia-wide in the mid 1980s.
The variety of subjects photographed by Smith places her in the company of many great Australians. As I have only photographed Mal Meninga from the sidelines of some State of Origin matches, it is intriguing to see him “buffed” up in a hand coloured dressing room shot.
And just to prove the depth of Smith’s portrait collection is one of the many images she took of Australian Prime Ministers. A privilege that comes from living for such a long period in Canberra.
Reference to the catalogue will give details of her extensive work with the Tiwi people of Bathurst and Melville Islands and the results of being resident photographer for the Canberra Press Club from 1984 to 1996.
The catalogue also showcases some early work in Germany (her birth place) from 1956 onwards as Smith formalised her photographic training and skills.