At the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, young Australian diver Matthew Mitcham won the gold medal in the 10-metre platform event, with the highest-scoring single dive in Olympic history. Now in the lead-up to Mitcham’s participation in the Summer Olympics in London, after scoring perfect 10s from all seven judges on one of his dives at the recent Olympic trials in Adelaide, this solo exhibition by Sydney photographer John McRae presents a personal view of the many facets of the life of one of this country’s leading athletes, the winner of 2008Sportsman of the Year.
This series of 20 images presented in varying formats, ranges from formal studio portraits and costumed shots to playful images taken over the past five years in different settings and in different cities. As close friends, Mitcham and McRae share a unique relationship. Their work together as model and photographer has created a visual archive characterized by honesty, candour and intimacy, but also sometimes given the veneer of slapstick or the sheen of glamour.
Matthew Mitcham is both an icon and a chameleon, able to change his attitudes with the dexterity of an actor. In his photographs, McRae captures the ever-changing moods of his subject, variously portrayed as a shy youth, a Hollywood cover-boy. a confident role model, play-acting as a bumble-bee (Mitcham performed in costume as a stunt-diver at the Royal Easter Show several years ago) or a comic French aristocrat, dining at a restaurant in Rome or posing as a classical figure in stylized compositions.
Many of these images have never been previously exhibited, although a selection of McRae’s larger portraits have recently been shown at both Lipanjepuntin Artecontemporanea in Rome and Ausin Tung Gallery in Melbourne. Later this year, John McRae’s work will also be featured in a solo show at Galleria Il Ponte Contemporanea in Rome. Matthew Mitcham is currently completing his autobiography, to be published by HarperCollins in November, 2012.
MMXII – exhibition curated by Jonathan Turner
To read an illustrated article about John McRae’s portraits of Matthew Mitcham, published by the Italian web-magazine genius-online., go to link:
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