Item #CL203-65 Life And Death Dash. Mervyn Bishop, b.1945 Aust.
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Life And Death Dash

1971. Vintage silver gelatin photograph, untitled caption on mimeographed slip affixed with tape verso, 24.1 x 19.1cm. Old tape marks verso.

Caption reads “A nurse races this three-year-old boy—he’d taken an overdose of drugs—into St Margaret’s Children’s Hospital at Darlinghurst. His mother, with a police escort, had dashed him and his [sister]—also poisoner—to the hospital from Marrickville.” This photograph is the original Sydney Morning Herald press print.

In 1971 Mervyn Bishop won the News Photographer of the Year Award with this image which appeared on the front-page of the newspaper, titled Life and Death Dash. This image, with the same title, is illustrated in The Australian Centre for Photography exhibition publication, In Dreams: Mervyn Bishop, Thirty Years of Photography 1960-1990, editor Tracey Moffatt. Sydney, 1991, p43.

In 2021, Bishop informed his agent, Josef Lebovic, that the young boy seen in this image is of Italian descent and has since become a specialist doctor, whom Bishop met at one of his exhibitions in Sydney. He also stated that he became aware of the police escort from a radio broadcast picked up by an associate journalist. They both went to the front of the hospital and waited for the arrival. The nurse, Sister Anne Bourne, was waiting on the footpath to assist with getting the two children into emergency. When she saw Bishop with his camera, she picked up the boy, protectively, to shield him from being photographed.

This image is held in the Art Gallery of NSW with photographer’s biographical details, which included “Born and raised in Brewarrina, NSW, Mervyn Bishop was encouraged by his mother to take his first photograph. After witnessing the ‘magic’ of the darkroom process, he became passionate about photography. In 1963 he successfully applied for a four-year cadetship at The Sydney Morning Herald, and completed a photography certificate course at Sydney Technical College during these years. Bishop continued to work for The Sydney Morning Herald, and was Australia’s first Aboriginal press photographer.”

Item #CL203-65

Price (AUD): $11,000.00  other currencies

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