Focus: photography and war 1945–2006
Stephen Dupont (1967-)
Stephen Dupont was initially a commercial photographer, best known for his photographs of celebrities, before he became a photojournalist in the late 1980s. In 1989 he travelled to Cambodia with his good friend and fellow photographer Ben Bohane and documented the Vietnamese withdrawal from the country. Dupont’s attention then shifted to conflicts elsewhere: to Sri Lanka in 1990, Angola and Somalia in 1993, and Rwanda in 1994. Dupont returned to Australia in 1999 and has since focussed on regional conflicts and the “war on terror”.
In October 2003 he travelled to Solomon Islands to document the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) as an official war photographer for the Australian War Memorial. In doing so, Dupont became the first official Australian photographer appointed to cover a peacekeeping mission.
The Memorial holds many important examples of Dupont’s work. These include photographs he has taken as an independent photojournalist, and his work completed as an official war photographer in Solomon Islands. In Dupont’s photographs figures and their setting converge to great effect. Single or grouped figures are usually photographed against a highly suggestive landscape or architectural detail to produce a coherent and expressive statement on its subject. Dupont’s photographs also reflect his interest in the work of many of the photojournalists who covered the Vietnam War – especially Larry Burrows, Tim Page, and Don McCullin. As with these photographers, Dupont attempts to both get close to his subject and reveal what he sees as the beauty and tragedy of contemporary conflict.