Rose Simmonds, Australia 1877-1960 | (Grey Street Bridge, Brisbane) c.1933 | Bromoil transfer photograph on paper | Gift of Dr J.H. Simmonds 1982 | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
Rose Simmonds, Australia 1877-1960 | (J.H. Simmonds, Rosemary and Margaret on a slippery slide in water) c.1938, printed 1984 | Type C photograph on paper | Print from original transparency gifted by Dr J.H. Simmonds 1982 | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
Currently on display | Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Galleries | Queensland Art Gallery (QAG)
Born in England, Rose Simmonds arrived in Brisbane with her family in the late 1880s. She was an active photographer from the mid 1920s to 1941 and, during this period, Simmonds was the only female member of the Queensland Camera Club; she was elected to the prestigious Australian Royal Photographic Society in 1937. In addition to being published in the Australasian Photo-Review, she exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally, and a solo exhibition of her work was held in Brisbane in 1941.
Simmonds was important for the Queensland pictorialist photography movement. Emerging directly from the international pictorialist movement, which began in England and France at the end of the nineteenth century, local practitioners continued to work in a manner designed to encourage the acceptance of photography as a valid art form. To this end, they explored techniques and processes which lent their photographs a painterly quality. The inherent ability of the photographic image to reproduce a scene with accuracy and sharp detail was suppressed in favour of soft-focused and low-toned prints, which resulted in romanticised images.
This group of photographs also includes family snapshots from around 1938; family members are depicted at home and on holiday at Southport, on the Gold Coast. Although the emphasis is less on formal photographic concerns than on capturing a moment for posterity, these photographs still convey Simmonds’s interest in photography as a means of artistic expression. Revealing the photographer’s use of colour in the snapshot genre and her approach to informal composition, they present an extra dimension in Rose Simmonds’s life and work.
The Queensland Art Gallery houses a significant collection of Australian paintings, sculptures, decorative art objects, and works on paper. Find more information on these selected Collection highlights | Indigenous Australian Art | Queensland Heritage | Australian Art to 1975
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