Portraits of Elders | 2017
Mervyn Bishop was the first Aboriginal press photographer in Australia, beginning his career as a cadet photographer with The Sydney Morning Herald in 1963. In 1971 he was voted News Photographer of the Year, but three years later he began work at the new Department of Aboriginal Affairs, travelling the country to document Aboriginal social history. In 1979 he returned to work at the Herald. Since 1986 he has worked as a freelance photographer and lecturer. His retrospective exhibition, In Dreams: Mervyn Bishop, Thirty Years of Photography 1960–1990, initially curated by Tracy Moffat, has been on tour for a decade. He worked as a stills photographer on Phil Noyce’s film Rabbit Proof Fence, and was awarded the Australia Council’s Red Ochre Award in December 2000.
Mervyn Bishop has created some of the most iconic press photographs of Australian history, and produced across his career, a powerful visual record of the social reality of Aboriginal people in Australia.