Viewfinder is a dynamic and insightful look at how Australia has changed over the last 50 years, through a survey of photographs from the National Library of Australia's collection. These images, ranging from the 1970s to the present day, also tell the fascinating story of the changing nature of photography as a medium to record our lives.
Australia has changed radically in the last half-century. Economically and culturally, we have opened our arms to the world. The way we work and play has changed, as well as our very idea of Australian identity. Waves of protest during these decades, championing the rights of First Nations peoples, women and the LGBTI community, as well as an increasing cultural diversity thanks to immigration from all around the world, have made us more accepting of, and willing to celebrate, difference. Our relationship and attitudes to the environment have also changed, particularly as we continue to move away from the bush to the big coastal cities and become more aware of the threat of climate change.
Along with these social changes, the nature of photography has also evolved. Photography was finally embraced as an art form in the 1970s, and training became more readily available for both enthusiastic amateurs and professionals. Along with the growth of knowledge and theory, there were radical changes in the technology - particularly the increased use of colour and digital by professionals and amateurs alike. The world was changing and photographers had acquired a bigger toolbox of techniques and approaches to record these changes.
Just as your photo albums, whether physical or digital, tell your story, this remarkably wide-ranging collection of images serves as a valuable aide to us as we continue to try and understand our country and its people, and plot our way forward in an uncertain world.