#54 Robert McFarlane – distinguished documentary photographer on life on the film set

Robert McFarlane first realised the power of photography at high school in the 1950s, a realisation that so heavily resonated with him that he went on to become one of Australia’s most authoritative documentary photographers. After a brief stint as a copy boy at an advertising agency, he followed his passion into photojournalism, which took him to Sydney in 1963 and London in 1969. He’s used his talent both to cut through important social issues – his enduring photograph of Aboriginal activist Charlie Perkins comes to mind – and creatively on film sets and in theatres. Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett and a young Nicole Kidman are among those who’ve been captured by Robert, who finds a way to brilliantly blur the lines between character and reality. He speaks today about life on the film set, the requisite patience, his three favourite Australian films of all time and balancing box office with the stories that need to be told. You can see and hear more from Robert at the Samstag Museum of Art on Thursday October 18 as part of the exhibition Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits, which runs from September 14 – November 30.

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