A view of the You Yangs, from Lara Plains (c. 1882)
albumen silver photograph
18.4 x 27.2 cm (image)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of Mrs Beryl M. Curl, 1979
This exhibition is a comprehensive survey of the work of Fred Kruger (1831–88), a German migrant to Victoria with a highly distinctive command of photographic language. Kruger’s detailed and compelling images draw us into an intimate experience of the landscape and are achieved through his orchestration of people within natural environments.
Kruger’s photographs are complex constructions embedded in the political and social circumstances in which he lived. This is especially the case with his creative documentation of life at the Coranderrk Aboriginal Station in 1876 and 1883 taken on commission from the Board for the Protection of Aborigines. Working at a time of rebellion at the station, Kruger’s images are a rare insight into a period of transition for the Aboriginal people.
It is his combination of rich context, strong sense of time and place, and distinctive creative expression that makes Kruger’s work so notable in the history of Australian photography.