Press photography has long influenced how Australians have understood themselves and their world. This project, funded by the Australian Research Council (LP 120200458) with the National Library of Australia and the Walkley Foundation, documents the history of Australian press photography, from the first published news photograph (in 1888) to the way press photography is used today. The research focuses upon changes and continuities in how the Australian press has used photographs over time. This includes examining the seismic advances in technology and its impact on news photography and the ethical and editorial issues surrounding news photography. It also looks at the ways that news photography can blur the boundaries between public and private worlds, at the evolution of the profession and the use of amateur and agency photographs in newspapers, and editorial shifts in the placement, captioning and framing of news photos. The research also considers the photographic representation of Australia and the world, including international events, politics and leadership, war, crime, gender, immigration, protest, women, disaster and sport.

The outcomes of the research will be communicated through a book, conference presentations and articles and many public events. One of its most important initiatives is the collection of sixty oral history interviews with Australian newspaper and magazine photographers to be kept at the National Library of Australia’s Oral History and Folklore collection. The NLA’s collection records the voices that describe our cultural, intellectual and social life and the interviews will give illuminating insight into the experiences and lives of our press photographers.

Work on Press Photography in Australia was undertaken as part of the Australian Research Council's Linkage Projects funding scheme (project number LP120200458).