Men at Hoarding Windows c. 1979–80

McHUTCHISON, John

Registration number

1741996

Artist/maker

McHUTCHISON, John

Title

Men at Hoarding Windows

Production date

c. 1979–80

Medium

photographic paper

Dimensions (H x W x D)

21.5 x 28.7 cm (photograph); 36.8 x 44.2 cm (mount)

Inscriptions

obverse: BUILDING FLAGSTAFF / STATION

Credit line

Donated by John McHutchison, 2008
City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection

Keywords

John Mchutchison, Flagstaff Station, public transport, construction, 1970s, 1980s, 1979–80

Summary

In 2008, painter and photographer John McHutchison generously donated a collection of his photographic works to the City of Melbourne. These mainly black-and-white photographs were taken between 1976 and 1983 and largely document our city’s streets and public scenes during that period.

While at first glance they appear candid windows onto public tableaux, they soon reveal more complex narratives, with the compositions drawing out an often-playful, always-compelling dynamic between the subject and setting. If you look through these photographs, you will observe that while many turn on an amusing visual play, it is a restless humour that underwrites them, both whimsical and macabre. For example, ‘Wall Sign, E. Dark & Co. Mossberg for Accuracy’ shows the two rifles on the wall sign trained deadly accurate on windows of the adjoining office building, its occupants presumably blissfully unaware. Yet this photograph of men at hoarding windows during the building of Flagstaff Station, with gents nonchalantly viewing the building works behind, is nothing if not reminiscent of a public pissoir or a peep show. The prosaic, purely descriptive titles give little away; these photographs rely on visual language to deliver their punchline.