The portrait has the power to confer a sitter with the gravitas of influence; the realism of photography pushes this to its apogee. It is a useful tool in the propulsion of an individual, as well as in the defining of a nation.
In the catalogue essay for Polly Borland’s dubois photo series Australians, a n attempt to define diasporic nationalism and cultural escapism, Peter Conrad compares Borland’s work to that of early 20th century Tasmanian photographer Jack Cato.
Borland uses the famous and the distinguished as a benchmark for who we are, but in radical opposition, 80 years earlier, as August Sanders was in Germany, Cato realised it is the villagers that define a nation.
As Cato looked at our cities and our people, so do I. I think about how they have changed in the time I have known them. I lament the friends and partners who have now exited, and in retaliation I think about stability.
I have been in Hobart for around five years, and in my mind Gibbo has always been there; a constant. The enduring Publican for so many of us. A true adumbration for our common. It is not the glamour of life that makes us who we are, individually or collectively, it is the intimacy of existence amongst the corporeal.