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Surf Sirens

Date: 1946
Mount / Matt size: 470 x 343 mm
Display dimensions (Frame): 495 x 365 x 35 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00032015
Place Manufactured:Manly

User Terms

    Ray Leighton was a highly successful professional photographer who had a long association with the Manly surfing community and often featured beach themes in his work. This silver gelatin print, 'Surf Sirens' was taken at Manly Beach in 1946, and later reprinted as an edition by another well known beach photographer, Rodger Scott, in 1998. Amongst the hollow 'toothpick' boards that have been arranged to create a decorative fan is one made by Ray Leighton.
    SignificanceRay Leighton's photographs document 1930s and 1940s popular culture, fashion and the lifestyle associated with one of Sydney's most popular beaches, Manly Beach. 'Surf Sirens' provides an important record of board manufacture and swimwear styles in the late 1940s.
    HistoryRay Leighton worked for Russell Roberts in 1932 and later for Home magazine. In 1946 he moved to studios in Grosvenor Street, Sydney. Like his contemporaries Max Dupain and Laurence Le Guay, Ray Leighton was an important figure in Sydney commercial photography, and for the next three decades specialised in advertising and industrial work.

    Photographing beach scenes stemmed from Ray Leighton's keen interest in surfing, and a number of Ray's Manly photographs were published in newspapers and magazines during the 1940s. He joined Manly Surf Club in 1932 in order to store his plywood long board, which was too heavy to transport. This was common practice among surfers in the 1930s. Ray made his own boards with distinctive patterns and insignia, earning him the name 'Badges'. He was Manly Surf Life Saving Club's top boardsman in the 1939-1940 season.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Surf Sirens

    Primary title: SURF SIRENS

    Related People
    Photographer: Ray Leighton

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