Max Pam / Australia b.1949 / Hungry kangaroo at breakfast, Carnarvon Gorge National Park (from ‘Journeys north’ portfolio) 1986 / Gelatin silver photograph on paper / Purchased 1987 with the financial assistance of the Australian Bicentennial Authority to commemorate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988 / © The artist

Max Pam
Hungry kangaroo at breakfast, Carnarvon Gorge National Park 1986

Not Currently on Display

‘In 1986, I spent the best part of six months driving all over the state, following a path from National Park to State Forest. I broke tent pegs, hammering them into the concrete soil of Julia Creek, and I pushed them in with my foot on the beach at Hinchinbrook Island. All this I did together with my family, our tent, the billy, the esky and a sailboard. My pictures do not describe a family on the move. What they describe is the Australian tent household in Queensland and just what happens when you unzip the front door and walk out into the landscape: breakfast with a kangaroo, the local newspaper, and my brother-in-law’s mirror-backed wrap-arounds.’1


1 Artist’s statement, exhibition catalogue ‘Journeys north’, p.42

Born in Melbourne in 1949, Max Pam obtained a Diploma in Photography at RMIT in 1969. This was followed by a two year period of further study at Harrow Photo School in London and employment as a photographic technician and then cinematographer with Film Australia. Following this, Pam travelled extensively around Australia, Europe, India and Asia (1970-83), and worked as a freelance photographer, producing images which are at once documents of places visited and humorous, personal interpretations of life in those places. Pam has since worked on a number of significant photographic projects (including ‘A day in the life of Australia’ (1981) and the CSR Photography Project (1982)) and exhibited his work widely in Australia and internationally.

For his contribution to the ‘Journeys north’ project, Max Pam and his family set off on a ‘drive and camp’ holiday through Queensland. Through his experiences we witness the great variety of this State’s tropical, desert, rainforest and island regions. In addition to spectacular natural beauty, however, we also see characteristically subtle and humorous images; incidents in the life of a family on the move, fantastical tourist attractions. Critical and disturbing images of pollution, such as the pouring of waste onto northern beaches are also evident.

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