A large print of the Australian War Records Section Frank Hurley's composite photograph
ID numberP01438.001
Collection typePhotograph
Object typeBlack & white
MakerHurley, James Francis (Frank)
Place madeUnited Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made1918
Physical descriptionBlack & white
DescriptionA large print of the Australian War Records Section Frank Hurley's composite photograph "Over the top" (also known as "A hop over" and "A raid") leaning against a brick wall, probably in a warehouse or at the Australian Base Post Office, which had 1 hectare of floor space. Hurley's photograph depicts Australian soldiers charging from trenches while combat aircraft fly overhead in a sky filled with smoke from shrapnel and bomb explosions. On the picture's right, smoke issues from a crashed plane. The print shown in this photograph, which measured 6.1 x 4.7 metres, combined fragments from 12 separate negatives. It was produced for an exhibition featuring work by Australian, Canadian and British war photographers and artists at London's Grafton Galleries between May and September 1918. One of six composite prints in the exhibition, this was originally entitled "A hop over", but became famous as "Over the top". Hurley's practice of combining several negatives for dramatic and artistic effect was a cause of controversy, particularly with Charles Bean, for whom Hurley's composites compromised the historical reliability of the Australian photographic record of the war. (See also E05988A and E05988B)