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  • Title
    Sub-fonds 2: Max Dupain and Associates negatives and transparencies, 1905-1998
  • Level of description
  • Date

  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Scope and Content
    Contains approximately 242,267 photographic negatives taken 1930s-1998. The majority of the negatives are black and white 5 x 4 inch format. Other formats in black & white and colour include 5 x 7 in., 6 x 6 cm, 8 x 10 in., glass plate, 35mm, and 35mm slides and transparencies. Also included are a number of work prints and printing proofs, mostly black & white, printed from the original negatives by Max Dupain or his associates.

    After a job was completed and prints sent to a client, the negatives were placed in an envelope, referred to as a ‘job bag’, which was allocated a sequential job number and recorded the client, subject and date. There was no information recorded on the envelope regarding which photographer was assigned the job, but most have been identified by their handwriting. As a quantity of jobs was retroactively entered into the system, not all dates and numbers are sequential. Job bag envelopes were placed in boxes with the sequential job number range listed on the exterior.

    MD&A used an index card system to record jobs, housed alphabetically by client name within rotary indexes. General clients were housed in two rotary indexes, and architectural firms and institutions in another. The indexes list most of the jobs undertaken by the company between ca 1947-1992. The index cards contain basic information such as the client, job number, what was to be photographed and usually the date.

    Different numbering systems were used over time. The job numbering system was implemented in the early 1950s. Alphanumerical job numbers comprising letter prefixes followed by a number, were allocated by Eric Sierins to order the jobs by particular clients e.g. AOR (Australian Oil Refining), DJ (David Jones). Long-term clients e.g. Harry Seidler or Glenn Murcutt, or clients with multiple commissions, were sometimes allocated an individual box labelled with the client name by Dupain and Jill White to avoid retrieving job envelopes from multiple boxes.

    After Max Dupain’s death in 1992, Eric Sierins began to compile an electronic database (Filemaker Pro 8) from the Rotadex index cards and job envelope annotations, primarily to identify, organise, and manage the Company’s photographic assets which he completed over a ten-year period. The Library catalogue records have been created from this database.

    Series 1: Max Dupain and Associates. Negatives arranged by job number, 1905-1998

    Series 2: Max Dupain and Associates. Negatives arranged by client name, 1936-1992

    Series 3: Max Dupain and Associates. Sydney Opera House construction, 1958-1973 / photographs mostly by Max Dupain
  • Description source

    Titles taken directly from Max Dupain and Associates database, or the job envelope housing the negatives when they were received by the Library.
  • General note

    Photographers listed in Max Dupain and Associates database are entered into the Author/Artist field of the catalogue record.
    Architect/Artist/Designer is a field transferred directly from the Max Dupain and Associates database. This field includes photographers assistants, and artists whose works appear incidentally in photographs.
    Number of photographs in the extent refers to contact prints, in cases where contact prints were received with the negatives in the same job envelopes or glassine bags as the negatives.
    Item of textual material refers to: glassine bags which contained negatives when received by the Library which have been retained; post-it notes attached to glassine bags which contained negatives when received by the Library which have been retained; newspaper or magazine cuttings which accompanied the negatives when received by the Library; slips of paper containing technical or extra information that accopmanied the negatives when received by the Library. The format of the item of textual material is described in the general notes field of the catalogue record.
    After the death of Dupain in 1992 Eric Sierins began compliling a database of all jobs created by Max Dupain and Associates. This process involved retrieving information from the Rotadexes and transcribing the entries into a FileMaker Pro database. This process took 10 years. Each job envelope was examined and any extra information was added to the database. At this point it was recorded in the database if jobs were missing or negatives were missing from the job envelope. Upon receipt of the archive the Library migrated the FileMaker Pro database into and Excel spreadsheet. This spreadsheet forms the bases for the catalogue records for this sub-fonds.
    Where a client is cited in the Max Dupain and Associates database, a general note has been entered in the catalogue record stating 'Photographs taken for'. The exact business relationship in terms of copyright is unkown as written agreements were not created or not received by the Library. The client names in the 'Photographs taken for' are entered exactly as they were entered into the Max Dupain and Associates database which the catalogue records are based on.
    Some negatives were received in envelopes annotated 'selected'. At the beginning of the rehousing this information was recorded in the General note field e.g. Glassine bags containing ON 559/Box 6/nos. 646, 655, 662, 690 annotated 'Selected by Max Dupain' [ON 559/Box 6/nos. 634-696]. Hand numbering of individual negatives preservers ceased after rehousing approximately 12,000 negatives in Series 2: Max Dupain and Associates. Negatives arranged by client name, 1936-1992. After this, rehoused negatives were not assigned individual call numbers and selected negatives were treated the same as non-selected negatives. Therefore the catalogue record does not indicate which negatives were and weren’t selected. Eric Sierens has informed the Library that many of the selected negatives have their corners snipped (Dupain's own system) and that annotated numbers also imply selection. Snipped corners and negative annotations are visible in the remit of the digitised images.

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