It’s taken more than 44 years, but photographer Angus O’Callaghan is finally appreciated.
The 92-year-old’s work is currently being featured at the City Gallery in the town hall building in Swanston St.
Speaking at the opening of the exhibition on February 11, Mr O’Callaghan told CBD News it was reassuring to have his work recognised.
The collection of works on display were shot between 1968 and 1971 when Mr O’Callaghan aspired to give up his day job as a teacher and become a published photo-journalist.
However, the publishers of the day didn’t see it quite the same way, rejecting his idea for a book. Mr O’Callaghan ended up back in the classroom and his photos ended up at the back of a cupboard somewhere in his house until they were “discovered” by his wife in 2006.
His work is “flavour of the month” now as a new generation of Melburnians marvels at Melbourne in a less hectic era.
The photos on display are mainly focused on the CBD and, in particular, the people of the time.
Mr O’Callaghan admits that the historical curiosity gives the work an attractive element that it did not have in 1971.
“But if it did not have the artistic merit, it would not catch peoples’ eyes in the first place,” he said. “It gets them in and then they are interested.”
“The human element is important. Without it, photographs and cities have no soul.”
“Cities have both icons and people, but they are nothing without people,” he said.
The exhibition is called At Dusk, Under the Clocks and runs until April. Entry is free.
At Dusk, Under the Clocks is curated by Kyla McFarlane. Dr McFarlane said the exhibition was a nostalgic walk to a Melbourne that cannot be forgotten.
“Delving into O’Callaghan’s archive, I became intrigued by his unique outlook on Melbourne, especially his photographs in the evening or in low light. His wanderings on evenings and weekends depict Melbourne as a modern, neon-filled city,” Dr McFarlane said.
“Some of the iconic locations he depicted here are very familiar, whilst others have disappeared into history, including the Gas and Fuel Building where Federation Square now sits. It’s an intriguing combination.”