A person on a skateboard is in the air. Two people in the bottom right hand corner are looking up at him. One of them is wearing a cardboard crown. The background is a blue sky with white clouds.

Powerful documentary photography focuses our attention on the beauty of everyday life.​

Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now takes a unique look at the journey of Australian documentary photography over the last five decades, from black and white images to the vibrant high definition images of today.

Drawing exclusively from the vast photography collection at the National Library of Australia, the 125 images in this exhibition reveal a changing Australia.

Images of what were traditionally quintessential Australian figures – shearers, dancers, diggers, knitters, sporting heroes and bronzed bodies on the beach – are present, but these characters and images are now part of a much bigger, and far more inclusive, picture, now featuring winged angels at Mardi Gras, the lives of migrants and the joy of family life.​

Viewfinder also focusses on the evolving nature of photography as a way of recording our lives and highlights the significant technological advances and increasing diversity of styles, approaches and techniques utilised by photographers over the past five decades.

Just as your photo albums, whether physical or digital, tell your story, documentary photographers capture images that help us to understand a place and its people, and to plot our way forward in an uncertain world.​

The exhibition opens on Friday 16 September 2022 and will run until Monday 13 March 2023, exclusive to Canberra. ​Entry is free, no booking required. 

Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now was curated by Matthew Jones. ​

Image at top: Dave Tacon (b.1976), Australian Renton Millar, world champion professional skateboarder, performs a method air above a half pipe ramp, before a crowd of young onlookers at Prahran, Victoria, 8 April 2009, nla.obj-137927722. Courtesy Dave Tacon.