Le Guay commenced his career during the 1930s with surrealist photography, and integred Dayne Studios in 1935 at the age of 18. He became a member of the prestigious Sydney Camera Circle and the Contemporary Camera Groupe, in 1938, which included Max Dupain and Olive Cotton, as well as several older photographers including Harold Cazneaux and Cecil Bostock. The Groupe was committed to practising and promoting a modern Australian approach to photography. Le Guay, like Dupain and other members, was interested in European modernism and wanted to find a way to use this style to create uniquely Australian images.
During the second war he was a war photographer for the RAAF. During WWII he was a war photographer for the RAAF.
After opening his studio in George Street, in Sydney , he became a partner with John Nesbett in 1947 and began to focus on fashion photography and other advertising work until the closure of the studio during the early 1970s. Up to this time Le Guay was Sydney’s leading fashion photographer. He then concentrated on publishing books on his photography, editing photographic books and magazines, and giving lectures.
He Awarded the Commonwealth Medal for his contributions towards photography in 1963, prominent Australian photographer // From Book by Newton, « Shades of Light » 1998
‘The progenitors’ is one of a series of montage works that Le Guay produced on the theme of modernism and the human condition. In the image, the nude man and woman are positioned as massive figures within an industrial landscape. The woman looks skyward with one hand pressed to her temple, while the man is seated at her feet and gazes up at her and the factory towers. The pose of the woman echoes the towers of the factory behind her, while the light and cloud suggest the enlightenment of the industrial world. The implication is that the couple are a modern Adam and Eve, with their ability to produce a new Australian race intrinsically linked to the productive capabilities of the modern industrial machines behind them.
« The title of Le Guay’s work potently suggests the complex mix of issues regarding race, heredity and modernity that circulated during the 1930s … A progenitor can mean a spiritual, political or intellectual predecessor and, in this context, the couple offer the viewer the reassuring promise of future prosperity. » From Isobel Crombie in « Body culture: Max Dupain, photography and Australian culture, 1919–1939″, Peleus Press , 2004
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