1922 – 2007
“I love photography. Knowing what the camera is, what the film is, when I shoot the shot and then develop the film and start printing and there’s a final print – all of that I enjoy. I don’t see it as an art form, but it’s lovely to be involved in it.”  

            “I just want to show people what I think are interesting photographs. The fact that I want someone to look at this photograph and say ‘I find that a very interesting photograph’, that’s my pleasure… that’s what I’m looking for.

             “When people look at my photographs I enjoy the fact that they, sometimes, like them. I think that’s great because I’m telling them about something that I know and I want to show it. Because there is a technique about it all, like available light and all that stuff.”

            Thus Robert Walker summed up his over-fifty-year career of capturing actors, directors, singers, conductors, dancers, choreographers, painters, sculptors and inhabitants of Kings Cross on film. As time has gone on this collection of images has become more and more valuable and important.           


            After photographing a book on the changing face and characters of Kings Cross, Robert turned hsi attention to artists, documenting a wide range of Australian painters and sculptors at all stages of their careers. Most of them became firm friends and this allowed him access to aspects of their lives that had eluded others. This also led to another book, Painters in the Australian Landscape, and several exhibitions.

            In this film, Robert talks about his life, his photographic career and the philosophy underlying it. We see many examples of his work and learn what is involved in bringing a successful exhibition together. Robert died in 2007 at the age olf 85, after donating his theatre images to the National Institute of Dramatic Art's archives, where they can be accessed by present and future generations.


             As the film's director David Perry says, “Making the Robert Walker documentary was an interesting exercise of discovery. Discovering his vast output, discovering ways of condensing it all down to an interesting film and, best of all, discovering what a truly talented though modest and self-effacing person Robert was. I believe this film does reflect his true character and personality, but that sense of humour largely seemed to elude the camera. If the film succeeds in letting people know the magnificent job Robert has done in documenting this most interesting half-century of Australian artistic output, then it has all been worthwhile.”            


"I don't think of myself as an artist. I'm just a tradesman."

 – Robert Walker




The DVD of Words on Light : Robert Walker will be available from Artsdoc Australia.

For further details please click here.


DVD video    16:9    PAL    colour    stereo sound    38 minutes


Words on Light : Robert Walker credits


Robert's estate can be contacted through Artsdoc.


  For more information on the individual photographers, please click on the links below

Jeff Carter      David Moore      Wolfgang Sievers      Robyn Stacey