Book review: Photography, Early Cinema and Colonial Modernity: Frank Hurley's synchronized lecture entertainments. By Robert Dixon

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    Abstract

    Frank Hurley (1885–1962) is perhaps best known to Pacific historians for his film Pearls and Savages and the book of the same title, which describe his adventures in colonial Papua between 1921 and 1923. Exactly what that film was at different moments, how it was couched within an array of early multimedia and promotional strategies, and what Hurley thought he was doing in places like Papua are central themes in Robert Dixon's engaging account of Hurley's career as an entertainer (Photography) and in the accompanying extracts from his diaries (Diaries), edited jointly with Christopher Lee. Dixon and Lee are historically minded professors of literature and English, respectively, but their approach is deliberately non-biographical. There can be little more to know or say about Hurley the man, claims Dixon, citing a long literature, yet there is evidently much to add about Hurley's career as a performer. This is a biography not of Hurley, but of the ‘social life of the many marvellous and meaningful things he made: the negatives, photographic prints, lantern slides, stereographs, films, diaries and newspaper articles’
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)527-528
    JournalJournal of Pacific History
    Volume47
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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