Film photography exhibition opens – Geelong Independent

A small but enthusiastic crowd was regaled with tales from veteran filmmaker David Parker at the opening of the Stills Alive exhibition at Focal Point Gallery in North Geelong this month.

Parker is best-known for shooting and producing the film Malcolm in 1982 and for award-winning films including Amy, The Big Steal and Matching Jack.

Parker explained about the role of the still photographer, and included some of his own experiences on the films The Man From Snowy River, Burke and Wills, Raw Deal and others, including how he ended up in hospital while trying to get the perfect shot.

“I thought the best way to get photos of Kirk Douglas on horseback [in the Man From Snowy River] was to be on horseback myself,” he said.

“Unfortunately the horse did not agree because of the jangling of all my camera equipment. It reared up and I came down with my camera between my back and the ground and ended up with three broken ribs.”

Parker was the special guest for the opening of the exhibition, where several of his works are on display.

The Stills Alive exhibition features over 110 still photographs from Australian movies, showcasing the rise, fall and renaissance of the Australian film industry from 1900 to the 1980s.

It also includes some ‘lost’ and obscure films, and some that are not well known but have a significant place in history, including Australia’s first ‘talkie’, Showgirl’s Luck.

The core of the exhibition was originally put together in 1984 by photographer and curator Joyce Agee, with assistance from the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra.

Agee approached Focal Point director Craig Watson just before the pandemic to put on the exhibition, which she said had “literally been under my bed for the best part of 40 years”.

“Craig was enthusiastic and took it on board, and has expanded on it to make it even bigger and better than it originally was,” she said.

After a couple of COVID-induced delays, the exhibition finally opened earlier this month and Watson said it was a “must see”.

“Anyone with an interest in Australian movies, social history or photography is urged to check it out. There simply has not been anything like this seen for almost 40 years,” he said.

“With the added photos and new information of this updated version, the exhibition is truly unique.”

The exhibition is showing at 10am to 5pm Wednesdays to Sundays until April 3 at Focal Point in North Geelong.