Portrait of C.W.A. Scott by photographer Athol Shmith 

Athol SHMITH (1914–1990)
Portrait of C.W.A. Scott, Winner of the
Centenary Air Race 1934, c.1934
chloro-bromide photograph on
textured paper
Donated by MoMAMA, 2010
© The Estate of Athol Shmith


Given a camera by his father as a teenager, what started as a hobby for Shmith quickly became a profession during his late teens when he was asked to take publicity photographs and documentation shots for a show. Influenced in his early career by the soft, impressionistic style of turn-of-the-century art photographers, Shmith later embraced the clearer light, bolder compositions and design emphasis of modernism.

By the late 1930s he was seen as representing a new, modern style of work. Shmith has used this style in this photograph, created in about 1934, of Captain C.W.A. Scott, winner of the Melbourne Centenary Air Race of 1934 from London to Melbourne, Victoria.1

The race became part of Albury folklore after a Dutch plane (known as the Uiver) competing in the race was forced to land in Albury and avoided a catastrophe through the assistance of the Albury community.

1. Museum Victoria, Medal – MacRobertson International Air Race, Victoria, Australia, 1934, Museum of Victoria, http://museumvictoria.com.au/collections/items/1396632/medal-macrobertson-international-air-race-victoria-australia-1934, accessed 11 August 2015.