Australian Communities Foundation - Home

Sorry. You're using a browser that we
don't support.

To experience this site, please use Firefox, Chrome or Edge.

5 min read

A stunning record of Australian life: Bruce Postle’s iconic photography

Profile of Rebecca Bridges
Written by Rebecca BridgesPosted on 1/4/2019

On Wednesday the 26th of March, Bruce Postle regaled guests at the State Library Victoria (SLV) with stories from his career spanning 50 years. Australian Communities Foundation was proud to be involved and gives special thanks to the funders that attended the evening.

Kate Torney, SLV CEO, gave the crowd a warm welcome before diving into a selection of Bruce’s famed images from decades past. Reminiscing on times spent with Tommy Woodcock, Phyllis Diller, Malcolm Fraser, Sammy Davis Jr and Bob Hawke, the true breadth of Bruce’s work and subjects spoke for itself. There is immense cultural value in this collection and the light it shines on so many aspects of political, social and sporting life in Australia across the 60s, 70s and more.

A casual, even cavalier attitude at times was Bruce’s trademark – he rarely took more than 2 or 3 shots at a time, showing a great deal of patience and resolve in his approach to capturing his subjects. Bruce took time to soak in the moment and build rapport with his subjects, his congenial and laidback persona took him to events and places that as a kid growing up in Queensland, he had never imagined possible.

Every image connected with a fond memory for Bruce; whether it was laughing with newsroom staff and editors, a night spent drinking champagne with Sammy Davis Jr, or witnessing the Vietnam moratorium protest, which bore a striking resemblance to images from the Schools Strike 4 Climate Change in March 2019.

Reflecting on his career, Bruce expressed a lot of gratitude to the people he worked with and for the opportunities he was given. Despite a dramatic shift in press photography caused by camera technology, phones and the general media landscape, Bruce, whose first camera was a classic Pacemaker Speed Graphic made in 1947, believes in the enduring power of photography to entertain, educate and inspire.

It’s great to see the State Library preserving Bruce’s work and sharing his iconic images which transport viewers straight back to 20th century Australia.