Jennie Boddington

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Jennie Boddington
Jennie Boddington in 1952 photographed by Erwin Rado (1914-1988).jpg
Jennie Boddington in 1952 photographed by Erwin Rado (1914-1988).
Born
Jennifer Blackwood

1922
Melbourne, Australia
Died15 November 2015
ResidenceMelbourne, Australia
OccupationFilmmaker, curator and researcher
Years active1940s–1990s

Jennifer "Jennie" Boddington (née Blackwood) (1922 – 15 November 2015) was an Australian director and producer, who was first curator of photography at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, and researcher.

Early life[edit]

Boddington was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1922. She married in the early 1940s, bearing a son, Tim in 1943. Beginning her career[1] amongst Australia's New Wave of filmmakers in Sydney,[2] she worked as wardrobe assistant with costume designer Dahl Collings on Harry Watt's Ealing feature film The Overlanders (1946), then on eight hundred costumes for Watt's unfinished follow-up, Eureka Stockade (1948).[3]

Training[edit]

Boddington entered the Commonwealth Film Unit[4] in 1948 as cutting room assistant and was there for two and a half years[5] making a lifelong friend in Joan Long (scriptwriter and film producer later known for writing Caddie (1976) and producing Puberty Blues (1981)).[6] In 1947/8 the Commonwealth Film Unit, part of the Australian National Film Board, had moved from 66 King Street in Sydney's CBD to 5 Condor Street in Burwood, a suburb of Sydney, into an 1879 Department of Education building, where facilities consisted of cutting rooms, a theatre, a room housing recording equipment, a camera room and office space. The Unit provided tuition that the private companies did not.[7] Boddington trained there with important Australian and Canadian documentary filmmakers including Australian National Film Board Producer-in-Chief, Stanley Hawes,[8] Colin Dean and Ron Maslyn Williams, and her first editing and directorial experience came in working with John Heyer on The Valley Is Ours (1948).

Zanthus Films[edit]

Divorced in 1950, she moved back to Melbourne and for six years scripted, edited and directed training films for the Victorian General Post Office film unit.

In 1956, she was employed by ABC TV, where she edited reportage of the Melbourne Olympic Games, and met, then in 1958 married, cinematographer (Newcombe) Adrian Boddington (b. Kalgoorlie, 3 June 1911) and with whom she had three more sons, James (b.1959), Alastair (b.1961) and Nicholas (b.1963).

Establishing together the Zanthus Films partnership, for which she reverted to her family name Blackwood, they operated from their home in Hawthorn,[9] producing documentaries including the BP-commissioned Three in a Million (1959),[10] Port of Melbourne (1961), and You Are Not Alone (1961) on the then tabu subject of breast cancer and masectomy. These titles were amongst early Australian Film Institute Award winners, as was the film Anzac (1959), scripted by Cyril Pearl, which pioneered the use of historical stills with rostrum camera effects.

Curator of photography[edit]

After Adrian Boddington's death at 59 in 1970, Jennie Boddington retired from active film production. She then took up the post of first full-time curator[11] of photography[12] for the National Gallery of Victoria in 1972.[13][14] She was selected from fifty-three applicants,[15] becoming the first such curator in Australia and perhaps only the third in the world. Her selections of works for exhibition and acquisition were inclusive,[16] not restricted only to 'art' photography,[17] but rather emphasising its value as a medium of communication.[18]

Boddington devoted several exhibitions to contemporary Australian photographers[19] including the well known and the recently discovered, giving equal billing to male and female artists; among these were Micky Allan,[20][21] Jon Rhodes,[22] Carol Jerrems, Jillian Gibb, Ruth Maddison, and David Stephenson. She debuted the Geelong landscape photographer Laurie Wilson,[23] and promoted the work of the young Bill Henson recognising his talent with his first major exhibition while he was still a student.[24]

Important early Australian photography was given space, including that of Fred Kruger[25] whose prints and glass plates were brought to the curator by his descendants, and also the Antarctic photographers Frank Hurley and Herbert Ponting.[26][27]

Boddington's experience as a documentary film researcher and scriptwriter enabled some original insights in publications; Russell Drysdale's use of colour photography as an aide-mémoire was posited in an exhibition she curated in 1987, and in her catalogue essay,[28] which reveals in previously unknown photographic imagery this method of working and Drysdale's expressive stylisation in interpretation of colour, subject matter and specific locations.[29][30]

In her role Boddington toured Europe, London and America in 1975, meeting photographers Andre Kertesz and Bill Brandt as well as John Szarkowski, director of the Museum of Modern Art, an experience that influenced her ideas about curatorship, and leading her to decide that the acquisition of important overseas material should become a priority.[31][32] To this end, South African apartheid photographer David Goldblatt and the equally controversial Czech Jan Saudek were given major exhibitions (which were amongst these photographers' first shows internationally) and their works purchased, during Boddington's tenure.

Later life[edit]

Returning to Sydney in 1994 at age 72, Boddington went on to work as a free-lance researcher, cataloguing the files and photographic archives of Australian Walkabout magazine and other collections in The Mitchell Library, and contributing to the Australian Dictionary of Biography. She died on 15 November 2015, in Melbourne.

Publications[edit]

  • National Gallery of Victoria & Boddington, Jennie, 1922- & Sun News Pictorial (1972). Fifty years of press photography, 1922-1972. [National Gallery of Victoria], [Melbourne, Vic.]
  • YWCA (Australia) & Boddington, Jennie (1975). Woman 1975. East Melbourne[33]
  • Beaton, Cecil Sir & Boddington, Jennie, 1922- & National Gallery of Victoria (1975). Cecil Beaton's camera. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • Boddington, J. (1 January 1975). J. W. Lindt, photographer (1845 - 1926). Art Bulletin of Victoria / Publ. by the Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria, Victorian Arts Centre, 23-27.
  • Boddington, Jennie, 1922- & National Gallery of Victoria (1976). Modern Australian photographs : 28 April-27 June 1976. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • Borcoman, J., Jack, R. I., Boddington, J., Turner, P., Gaskins, B., Howe, G., Brown, J. L., ... Maynard, M. (1977). Photography in Australia: A conference on photography as communication medium and art form. Sydney: University of Sydney, Dept. of Adult Education.
  • Boddington, J. (1 January 1977). Paul Strand 1890 - 1976: Milestone in photography. Art Bulletin of Victoria / Publ. by the Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria, Victorian Arts Centre, 33-39.
  • Boddington, Jennie, 1922- (1978). Antarctic photographs, 1910-1916 : Herbert Ponting Scott expedition (1910-13), Frank Hurley Mawson expedition (1911-13), Shackleton expedition (1914-16). Sun Books, South Melbourne, Vic
  • Boddington, Jennie, 1922- & National Gallery of Victoria (1978). Six series. National Gallery of Victoria, [Melbourne, Vic
  • Boddington, Jennie (1978). Laurie Wilson's landscapes and Jon Rhodes' Australia : Photography Gallery, June 7. National Gallery of Victoria, [s.l]
  • Hurley, Frank, 1885-1962 & Ponting, Herbert, 1870-1935 & Boddington, Jennie, 1922- (1979). Antarctic photographs 1910-1916. Macmillan, London
  • National Gallery of Victoria & Boddington, Jennie, 1922- (1979). Australian photographs from the collection. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • Hurley, Frank, 1885-1962 & Ponting, Herbert, 1870-1935 & Boddington, Jennie, 1922- (1979). Antarctic photographs, 1910-1916. London [etc.] Macmillan
  • Ponting, Herbert & Hurley, Frank, 1885-1962 & Boddington, Jennie, 1922- (1979). 1910-1916 Antarctic photographs : Scott, Mawson and Shackleton expeditions. Macmillan, South Melbourne, Vic
  • Boddington, Jennie & National Gallery of Victoria (1980). Micky Allan : Botany Bay today : Jillian Gibb : One year's work. The Gallery, Melbourne
  • National Gallery of Victoria & Boddington, Jennie, 1922- & Wilson, Laurie, 1920-1980 (1982). Laurie Wilson. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • Boddington, J., & National Gallery of Victoria. (1983). In the lucky country: Panoramas by Jillian Gibb, Anthony Green and Merryle Johnson : Photography Gallery, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1 June-18 September 1983. Melbourne: The Gallery.
  • Boddington, Jennie, 1922- & National Gallery of Victoria (1983). International photography : 100 images from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. The Gallery, [Melbourne* National Gallery of Victoria & Boddington, Jennie, 1922- (1985). Milestones in the art : famous photographs in gravure. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • National Gallery of Victoria & Boddington, Jennie, 1922- (1984). International photography : selected from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. The Gallery, Melbourne
  • National Gallery of Victoria & Boddington, Jennie, 1922- (1984). Architecture and photography 1848-1982 : photographs from the collection. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • National Gallery of Victoria & Boddington, Jennie, 1922- & Art Gallery of Ballarat (1985). Australian landscape photographed : an exhibition of photographs from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. National Gallery of Victoria, [Melbourne]
  • Boddington, Jennie, 1922- & National Gallery of Victoria (1987). Australian contemporary photographers : John Anthong Delacour, Peter Elliston, Jillian Gibb, Ruth Maddison, David Stephenson and Stephen Wickham. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • Boddington, Jennie & Drysdale, Russell Sir, 1912-1981 & National Gallery of Victoria (1987). Drysdale, photographer. National Gallery of Victoria, 1987, Melbourne
  • Boddington, Jennie & State Library of Victoria (1989). The new art : photographs by William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877), La Trobe Collection, State Library of Victoria : Fox Talbot and the invention of photography. State Library of Victoria, [Melbourne, Vic.]
  • Boddington, J. (2002). 'Wilson, Lawrence George (1920–1980)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/wilson-lawrence-george-12048/text20421, published first in hardcopy 2002, accessed online 10 June 2015. This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16, (MUP), 2002

Films (selected)[edit]

  • Blackwood, J., & Australia. (1952). Jonathan's project. Australia: Postmaster General's Dept. An account of telephone services in country and city as seen through the eyes of a schoolboy doing a school project.
  • Martin-Jones, J., Blackwood, J., & Australian News and Information Bureau. (1952). Apples for export Australia: News and Information Bureau [production company].
  • Blackwood, Jennie & Boddington, Adrian & BP Australia & Zanthus Films (1959). Three in a million. Zanthus Films, Melbourne, Vic. The story of three of the million migrants who reached Australia after the end of the war. An Italian boy in Melbourne, an Englishwoman on a South Australian farm, and a German scientist working on the Snowy Mountains scheme; all of them, in their different ways, contributing to the development of their adopted country. (Winner 1960 AFI Award for Documentary film. Included in the 1959 MIFF, Programme 22 ).
  • Fenton, Peter & Pearl, Cyril. (Writer of accompanying material) & Marks, Herbie. (Arranger) & Powell, Moray. (Commentator) & Boddington, Adrian. (Producer) & Blackwood, Jennie (Director), et al. (1960). Anzac. Zanthus Films [production company], Australia. (27 min.) : sd., b&w ; 16 mm.
  • Blackwood, J., Boddington, A., Armstrong, B., Badger, H., Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria., & Zanthus Films. (1961). You are not alone. Anti-Cancer council of Victoria. A woman reports a suspected cancer early and undergoes a successful operation.
  • Morgan, John. (Commentator); Fenton, Peter; Boddington, Adrian. (Producer); Clark, Bruce. (Arranger); Blackwood, Jennie. (Director); Melbourne Harbor Trust; Zanthus Films (1961), Port of Melbourne, Zanthus Films [production company] : Melbourne Harbor Trust Commissioners [sponsor], retrieved 10 June 2015. (Second, Bronze 1962 AFI Award for Public Relations film) (27 min.) : sd., col. ; 16 mm.
  • Prod Co: Australian Commonwealth Film Unit; West, John. (Commentator); Martin-Jones, John. (Producer); Blackwood, Jennie. (Director); Allen, Alan; Australian Commonwealth Film Unit; Zanthus Films (1963), Sir John Monash, Zanthus Films [production company] : Australian Commonwealth Film Unit [production company], retrieved 10 June 2015[1] (29 min.) : sd., b&w ; 16mm
  • Blackwood, Jennie & Boddington, Adrian & Zanthus Films (1963). Sweet Are The Fruits, Zanthus Films, Melbourne, Vic. (Honourable Mention 1963 AFI Award for Public Relations film).

References[edit]

  1. ^ French, Lisa (2003) 'On Their Own Merits: Women and the Moving Image in Australia'. In Lisa French (Ed.) Womenvision : women and the moving image in Australia. Damned Publishing, Melbourne, p.6.
  2. ^ "Jennie Boddington". www.austlit.edu.au. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  3. ^ Joan Long, 'Part Two of a Historical Survey of Women in Australian Film Production', Cinema Papers, September 1976, p. 139
  4. ^ Moran, Albert (1987) 'Documentary Consensus: The Commonwealth Film Unit: 1954–1964' in O'Regan, T and Shoesmith, B (eds) History on/and/in Film, Perth, History & Film Association of Australia
  5. ^ 'Ballet Film Has Woman Editor' Boddington interview in The Age, Wednesday, 3 February 1965 p.16
  6. ^ Boddington, J. (2000) Obituary for Joan Long, In Senses of Cinema, July–August no. 8 2000;
  7. ^ Luisa Alessi (2013). Heritage Assessment: Screen Australia, No. 101 Eton Road, Lindfield. Perumal Murphy Alessi, Heritage Consultants.
  8. ^ BODDINGTON, JENNIE : INTERVIEWED BY KEN BERRYMAN AND QUENTIN TURNOUR : ORAL HISTORY. National Film and Sound Archive, Australia, Record No. - 458163
  9. ^ 'Ballet Film Has Woman Editor' Boddington interview in The Age, Wednesday, 3 February 1965 p.16
  10. ^ which follows three immigrants to Australia, from Greece, Great Britain and Germany, fitting into industries and everyday life. Blackwood, Jennie & Boddington, Adrian & BP Australia & Zanthus Films (1981). Three in a million. Zanthus Films, Melbourne, Vic
  11. ^ Galbally, Ann & National Gallery of Victoria (1987). The collections of the National Gallery of Victoria. Oxford University Press, Melbourne. p.236
  12. ^ Ely, Deborah History of Photography, 1 June 1999, Vol.23(2), p.118-122
  13. ^ Cox, Leonard B. The National Gallery of Victoria, 1861-1968: The Search for a Collection. Melbourne: The National Gallery of Victoria; Brown Prior Anderson Pty Ltd, 1971
  14. ^ Australian Photographer Carol Jerrems photographed Boddington at the NGV in 1974. See: Carol JERREMS Ivanhoe, Melbourne, Australia 1949 – 1980 "Curator of Photography, Jennie Boddington and photographer Melanie Le Guay at the National Gallery of Victoria) 1974" Archived 10 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Minutes of the NGV Photographic Subcommittee. Melbourne, 16/05/1972 quoted in Tate, Suzanne. Photographic Collections in Victoria: Waverley City Gallery, Horsham Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Victoria: An Analysis of Past History and Future Directions. The University of Melbourne: Postgraduate Diploma Thesis, 1998, Chapter 2: The Photography Department of the National Gallery of Victoria. pp. 17-18.
  16. ^ British journal of photography. Annual. Henry Greenwood, London, Volume 125, Issue 1, p.213
  17. ^ De Lorenzo, Catherine (2014) 'Agency and Authorship in Australian Photo Histories'. In Sheehan, Tanya, 1976- (2015). Photography, history, difference. Hanover, New Hampshire Dartmouth College Press
  18. ^ Borcoman, J., Jack, R. I., Boddington, J., Turner, P., Gaskins, B., Howe, G., Brown, J. L., ... Maynard, M. (1977). Photography in Australia: A conference on photography as communication medium and art form. Sydney: University of Sydney, Dept. of Adult Education.
  19. ^ Times a-changin' caught on camera.(News) Gabriella Coslovich. The Age (Melbourne, Australia), Oct 20, 2011, p.22
  20. ^ Boddington, Jennie & National Gallery of Victoria (1980). Micky Allan : Botany Bay today : Jillian Gibb : One year's work. The Gallery, Melbourne
  21. ^ Allan, Micky & Duncan, Jenepher & Monash University. Department of Visual Arts. Exhibition Gallery (1987). Micky Allan : perspective, 1975-1987. Monash University Gallery, Clayton, Vic.
  22. ^ Boddington, Jennie (1978). Laurie Wilson's landscapes and Jon Rhodes' Australia : Photography Gallery, June 7. National Gallery of Victoria, [s.l]
  23. ^ National Gallery of Victoria & Boddington, Jennie, 1922- & Wilson, Laurie, 1920-1980 (1982). Laurie Wilson. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  24. ^ "It is remarkable that, so young, his armoury of technical skill is so narrowly focused and accurately directed to serve his needs. He does his own colour processing in his bedroom[...]. He has referred to a ‘certain morbidity’ in his work. Well, that is an element of life too. The young ballerinas seem to be under a spell, in thrall. At one and the same time he is tender artist and tyrant. The delicacy and control of colour in these shades will excite wonderment and pleasure, where a hint of coral light imbues the lobe of an ear, or minuscule catchlight alights with barest touch on the tip of eyelashes or edges the profiled iris of her eye. At times he teases with only a suggestion of vaporous form, but the presence breathes within the frame. Do we not grieve for mortality when we perceive (for there is a tactile as well as a visual understanding here) the wisp of hair on the nape of her neck? There is something in the order of mystery. Enter the trance." Jennie Boddington (1975), Of Tender Years Published Photography Gallery room brochure, National Gallery of Victoria. Melbourne
  25. ^ Lydon, Jane & Coranderrk Aboriginal Station (2005). Eye contact : photographing indigenous Australians. Duke University Press, Durham, N.C. p.153
  26. ^ Hurley, Frank, 1885-1962 & Ponting, Herbert, 1870-1935 & Boddington, Jennie, 1922- (1979). Antarctic photographs, 1910-1916. London [etc.] Macmillan
  27. ^ Boddington, J. (1980) Introduction. In Ponting, Herbert & Hurley, Frank, 1885-1962, (joint author.) (1980). 1910-1916 Antarctic photographs : Scott, Mawson, and Shackleton expeditions. St. Martin's Press, New York
  28. ^ Wilson, Gavin & Cairns Regional Gallery & Wilson, Gavin, 1952- (1998). Escape artists : modernists in the tropics. Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, Queensland, pps.95,92,125.
  29. ^ Boddington, Jennie & Drysdale, Russell Sir, 1912-1981 & National Gallery of Victoria (1987). Drysdale, photographer. National Gallery of Victoria , 1987, Melbourne
  30. ^ Heathcote, Christopher & Drysdale, Russell Sir, 1912-1981, (artist.) & TarraWarra Museum of Art (issuing body.) (2013). Russell Drysdale : defining the modern Australian landscape. Kent Town, South Australia Wakefield Press
  31. ^ Crombie, Isobel. "Creating a Collection: International Photography at the National Gallery of Victoria," in Re_View: 170 years of Photography. Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2009, p. 9.
  32. ^ "Within the restrictions of what Mrs Boddington described as a meagre budget and with the assistance of grants from photographic companies she hopes to present exhibitions from the collection every two months, including exhibitions from overseas on loan." Jennie Boddington quoted by Edna Boling in A Curator of Photographs', in The Canberra Times Thursday 28 November 1974, p.18
  33. ^ "THE NATIONAL Y.W.CA. of Australia is mounting a. exhibition of photographs of 'Women in 1975'. The exhibition will open simultaneously in Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide on Wednesday, September 17. Canberra's exhibition will be opened by Katharine West, Senior Lecturer in Political Science at ANU, at 6pm on Wednesday and will be open to the public from Thursday, September, 18, until Wednesday, September 24. All expenses of the exhibition are being met from the International Women's Year Government grant. More than 150 photo graphs have been selected from 1,500 submitted by Jennie Boddington, curator of Photography at the National Gallery in Melbourne. The exhibition will travel round Australia to all YWCA centres." The Canberra Times Thursday 11 September 1975, p.15