FLESH: The Gold Coast in the 60s, 70s and 80s

Soft cover | 80 pages | 270 x 210mm | 2014 | Publisher: University of Queensland Press

The Gold Coast of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s was a special time and place. The popular beaches and parks exploded with a myriad of happenings – with plenty of flesh in all shapes and sizes on show.
Before the internet and digital photography, amateur photographer and social documentarian Graham Burstow moved freely among the people, chatting and photographing human interactions and forms on very close-up and public display.
His black-and-white hand-printed images capture the essence of the Gold Coast in these decades while stirring emotions that transcend the era and locale, speaking directly to the heart.

Graham Burstow’s photographs celebrate and document a very particular time on the Australian beach. [His] photographs remind us of what many think of as a more innocent Australia, perhaps a less-knowing Australia.

Professor Peter Spearritt Historian and author

Burstow follows a well-trodden path – the Parisian master photographer Robert Doisneau and (to some extent) the Melbournian Rennie Ellis spring to mind as kindred spirits here. Like Doisneau and Ellis, Burstow sees himself – and is – a social documentarian. People are what drives him….

Like all social documentarians worth their salt, Burstow’s eye and intentions take him into situations that are not always ‘nice’ and are often ambiguous, as is the case with the beachside photography that forms the essential ‘body’ and, I believe, the most significant work in this exhibition. Although these pictures date from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, there is a timeless quality about them, the sense that similar events today would be best photographed in precisely this manner.

John Williams Photographer and historian