Analytical Comparison focusing on visual and language techniques in portraying vision of Australia in Dorothea Mackellar's - "My Country" and Max Dupain's - "Sunbather"

Essay by voodoo_doll85High School, 12th gradeA, March 2006

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Many artists, poets and writers alike over the years have attempted to encapsulate an image of Australia in their works. Two of the most famous Australian works - Max Dupain's "Sunbather" and Dorothea Mackellar's "My Country" have achieved this in differing, yet equally effective ways. They have done this through a number of ways such as emphasizing the relationships between the author, responder and context and using language forms and features which shape its meaning and influence responses.

The first text that will be discussed is Max Dupain's photograph - "Sunbather". This photograph is a powerful yet simple image that conveys aspects of the Australian climate, attitude and culture through the person, composition and colour.

In "Sunbather", we cannot see the subject's facial expression; however from their body language and pose we are aware that he is relaxed. This relaxed look is the first way in which the text displays the Australian cultural ideals of relaxation and leisure.

The body is wet as it has just left the water and is partially naked. This lack of clothing suggests a calm, casual viewpoint. The figure is not making eye contact with us, and this prompts us to consider the stereotypes of what an "Australian" looks like. By not displaying the face, we make our own mind up as to what encompasses an Australian, based on more than just facial image. On a second level, because has no face; he can be anyone, every Australian. He can represent everyone because he has no individuality himself.

These elements used to represent the person in the photograph reflect what Australia and Australian people are like.

The sunbathing figure is the focal point of the photograph representing how the Australian image and people are a vital part of our culture and heritage. This focus...