Mark Strizic

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Mark Strizic
Marko Strizic

(1928-04-19)19 April 1928
Berlin, Germany
Died8 December 2012(2012-12-08) (aged 84)[1]
Wallan, Victoria, Australia
Known forPhotography
Notable work
(Tree and telegraph pole from "South Melbourne 1967–1972") (c.1967–72)

Mark Strizic was a 20th-century Croatian-Australian photographer and artist. Best known for his architectural and industrial photography, he was also a portraitist of significant Australians,[2] and fine art photographer and painter known for his multimedia mural work.

Strizic and other post-war immigrant photographers Wolfgang Sievers, Henry Talbot, Richard Woldendorp, Bruno Benini, Margaret Michaelis, Dieter Muller, David Mist and Helmut Newton brought modernism to Australian photography.[3][4]

Early life & migration[edit]

Marko Strizic was born in 1928 in Berlin, where his father, Zdenko Strizic [hr][5] (1902–1990), was studying and practising architecture (later becoming a Professor of Architecture[6]). His mother was a textile designer, trained in Berlin, who contributed to Zdenko's practice.[7] In 1934, in reaction to Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor, the family fled to Zagreb, Yugoslavia (now Croatia). There Strizic began to study physics and geology.

At the end of WW2, Strizic fled to Austria as a refugee following the liberation of Yugoslavia to escape the Communist regime. As there was a five-year waiting period to emigrate to the United States, he decided to go instead to Australia. He departed Naples on the converted Australian Navy seaplane carrier Hellenic Prince, arriving in Melbourne in April 1950. There his good spoken English soon gained him a position as a clerk with the Victorian Railways Reclamation Department,[8] and he resumed his studies in physics part-time at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

In 1952 he married Hungarian-born Sue. He settled in Richmond, subsequently moving with his wife to South Yarra, South Melbourne, then Kew,(Possibly Kew before South Melbourne), and finally to Wallan, in country Victoria, living there until his death in 2012.


Strizic bought his first camera, a Diaxette[9][10] and began to photograph his environment, developing a love of strong light which he found abundant under the clear skies of his adopted city.[11] He enjoyed shooting into the sun contre-jour, and capturing low afternoon side-lighting effects for their high-contrast graphic silhouettes in black and white prints,[12] and that became his signature style for his historically and culturally significant photographs of post-war Melbourne. His abandonment of physics in 1957 for a career in photography was encouraged by his father (who visited Melbourne in 1957 as guest professor at the School of Architecture Melbourne University) and through his friendship with David Saunders (who had stayed with Strizic's parents in Yugoslavia in 1952[13]). Saunders, a Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Melbourne who was then acting Assistant Director at the National Gallery of Victoria, provided increasingly frequent photography commissions. In 1957 Saunders introduced him to Leonard French, an artist and the Gallery's Exhibitions Officer, who asked him to document exhibitions, including the 1959 retrospective of cabinet maker Schulim Krimper’s furniture.[14] Postwar industrialisation in Australia led then to work for mining company BHP, civil engineers Humes Limited and manufacturers McPhersons, photographing the plants, manufacturing, products and workers for annual reports and advertising, while the concurrent housing boom provided further opportunities. Strizic established his studios in Collins Street, Melbourne[15] in what was known as 'The Paris End'.[16]

Again through Saunders, in 1958, Strizic met modernist Robin Boyd of architectural firm Grounds, Romberg and Boyd, who became a major clients.[17] Boyd controversially criticised Australian suburban culture in his book The Australian Ugliness of 1960, and likewise Strizic's photography[18] began to illustrate Australians' disdain for their architectural heritage and their scant regard for the visual aesthetics of their urban environment amidst the destruction[19] of magnificent Gold Rush era buildings and verandahs and their replacement by high-rise modernist office-blocks.[20] This work was widely published in architectural books and journals but also illustrated social commentary during this period of a national identity crisis with frequent contributions of his photo-essays to Walkabout, Australia Today and other travel magazines (see below the range of books containing his photographs). In 1960 Strizic joined David Saunders to produce Melbourne: A Portrait, stating 'Its central thought is that while men make cities, the cities also affect the men.'[21]

Strizic taught photography at tertiary level in Melbourne from 1978, and in 1984 he became a full-time artist, photographer and designer. The winner of a number of photographic awards and grants, he exhibited his work widely since 1958.

Strizic's work is represented in the Australian National Gallery and several state galleries and in corporate collections.[22]

Fine art[edit]

Having become the first photographer to exhibit solo at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1968[23] and the first whose work was acquired by the National Gallery of Australia,[2] Strizic moved more emphatically into fine art, finding a market for large scale mural installations amongst corporate clients. He began combining, enlarging, cropping and transforming elements from his black and white negatives through montage, then colourising and posterising the monochrome images in the manner associated with Pop Art. Symbols of urban ugliness such as power poles and billboards were his subject matter and critical target in often apocalyptic imagery intended to provoke a social consciousness.[24] He was an early adopter of digital imaging techniques in producing such murals.[25][26]


Strizic lectured in photography at a number of tertiary education institutions including Preston (Phillip) Institute of Technology (1975–1977); Melbourne College of Advanced Education (Lecturer in Charge of Photography 1977–1982); part-time lecturer in Photography at the Victorian College of the Arts (1982–1984).

Books by or illustrated by Strizic[edit]

  • Barrett, R. D. (2009). 1950–1975: Building Modern Australia (Vol. 8). Australia: Macmillan Education
  • Beatty, B., & Beatty, W. A. (1966). Around Australia with Bill Beatty. Cassell Australia.
  • Buckrich, Judith with Keith Dunstan, Rohan Storey and Marc Strizic (2005) Collins: The story of Australia’s premier street. Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne
  • Burstall, Tim. & Ryan, Patrick. 1968, Two thousand weeks [Book designed by Mark Strizic & George Smith] Sun Books, Melbourne.
  • Royal Victorian Institute of Architects. (1956). Guide to Victorian architecture, 1956: A brief illustrated record of architectural development in Victoria, and in Melbourne the capital. Melbourne: Royal Victorian Institute of Architects.
  • Edquist, H., & Black, R. (2009). The Architecture of Neil Clerehan. RMIT Publishing.
  • Gray, Garrick. & Strizic, Mark. & Steinward, Uwe. ([197-?]). The Garrick Australian picture book. Melbourne : G. Gray
  • Howley, John. & Strizic, Mark. (1971). The phallic totem witness series. [S.l : s.n]
  • Lane, Terence. & Strizic, Mark. & Krimper, Schulim. (1987). Schulim Krimper : cabinet-maker : a tribute. South Yarra, Vic. : Gryphon Books
  • Macainsh, Noel. and Pugh, Clifton. (1962) Clifton Pugh [photography by Mark Strizic] Georgian House, Melbourne
  • Kennedy, G. (1967). Graham Kennedy's Melbourne. Thomas Nelson (Australia).
  • Potts, J. D. S. (1966). Australian outrage: the decay of a visual environment. Ure Smith.
  • Pugh, Clifton. & Strizic, Mark. & Grimwade, Andrew Sheppard (1968). Involvement : the portraits of Clifton Pugh and Mark Strizic; The work. Melbourne : Sun Books
  • Spate, V. (1963). John Olsen. Georgian House.
  • Stirling, A. (1967). Melbourne in Colour and Black-and-white. Lansdowne.
  • Strizic, Mark. & Monash Gallery of Art. (2003). Mark Strizic : a journey in photography Wheelers Hill, Vic. : Monash Gallery of Art
  • Strizic, Mark. & Matthews, Emma. & Jones, Barry. & State Library of Victoria. (2009). Mark Strizic : Melbourne: marvellous to modern. Fishermans Bend, Vic. : Melbourne : Thames and Hudson Australia ; published in association with State Library of Victoria
  • Strizic, Mark. & Flinders University Art Museum. (1984). Town country and soul : photographic works by Mark Strizic. Bedford Park, S.A. : Flinders University Art Museum
  • Strizic, Mark. & Saunders, David. (1960). Melbourne : a portrait. Melbourne : Georgian House

Selected exhibitions[edit]

  • Melbourne’s Twelve Best Buildings, National Gallery of Victoria (with Athol Shmith) 1958.
  • Mark Strizic photography, Argus Gallery [Melbourne], 11–22 February 1963.
  • Australian personalities – an exhibition of photographic portraits by Mark Strizic, Verdon Gallery, National Gallery of Victoria, 24 May-9 June 1968.
  • The fall of the shadow – Mark Strizic, Church Street Photographic Centre, Richmond, Melbourne, 16 November – 4 December 1977.
  • Town, country and soul – photographic works by Mark Strizic, Gryphon Gallery [Melbourne], 26 March-13 April 1984.
  • The 1950's – photographs by Mark Strizic, Gryphon Gallery [Melbourne], 16–20 October 1987.
  • Photographs by John Cato, Wolfgang Sievers, Mark Strizic 1955–75 (Aspects of Victorian photography I), National Gallery of Victoria, Photography Gallery, third floor, 2 April-19 June 1988.
  • Modern furniture Melbourne 1960s–1980s as photographed by Mark Strizic, The Cardigan Street Gallery, 12 December 1997 – 26 January 1998
  • Mark Strizic – paintings and collages, Acland Street Art Gallery [St. Kilda, Victoria], 6 September-6 October 1989
  • Melbourne life exhibition, Lower Melbourne Town Hall. 7–30 1992.
  • Inner sanctum – Noel Flood – ceramic sculpture, Werner Hammerstingl – photography and mixed media, Mark Strizic – photography and mixed media, Doncaster Gallery [Melbourne], 3–21 December 1993.
  • Melbourne in the '60's – an exhibition of photographs by Mark Strizic, Christine Abrahams Gallery [Richmond, Victoria], 14–31 August 1995.
  • Unity of fragmentation – paintings on prepared canvas & associated works by Mark Strizic. Quadrivium, 2–50 Level 2 South, Queen Victoria Building, George Street, Sydney, 20 February-12 March 1996.
  • Late modernism Melbourne – an exhibition of photographs by Mark Strizic, 1996, 12 December 1996 – 21 January 1997.
  • Mark Strizic : contre jour, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, 24 February–27 March 1999.
  • Mark Strizic : contre jour, Greenaway Art Gallery, 31 March – 25 April 1999. Catalogue essay by Emma Matthews.
  • Melbourne: Mid-century images, Gallery 101, 101 Collins Street Melbourne. 14 March – 1 April 2006
  • As Modern as Tomorrow: Photographers in Postwar Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, Keith Murdoch Gallery 1 July 2011 – 5 February 2012

Work in Collections[edit]



  • The ICI (Australia) Research Mural. Inaugurated 8 August 1988.
  • Australian Pavilion, Spokane Expo. Commissioned by the Australian Government.
  • Queensland University Sports Club
  • Flinders University Medical Centre.
  • Monash University Library, Clayton, Melbourne.


The Visual Art/ Craft Board's Emeritus Fellowship 1993 (also awarded that year to Olive Cotton, Nora Heysen and Peter Rushforth)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Marko (Mark) STRIZIC Obituary: View Marko STRIZIC's Obituary by Herald Sun". 19 April 1928. Archived from the original on 19 February 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b Elliot, Simon Poet of the Fleeting Moment in Portrait magazine, publication of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia, online archive
  3. ^ Ennis, Helen (2007) Photography and Australia London Reaktion Books, ISBN 186189323X, 9781861893239 p.83-84
  4. ^ entry, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney archive
  5. ^ Portrait of his father by Mark Strizic at
  6. ^ He was a lecturer in the Brunswick School, an influential German school of architecture of the postwar period de:Braunschweiger Schule[better source needed]
  7. ^ Professor's Wife From Yugoslavia The Age. 15 May 1957, p. 5
  8. ^ Conversation with Strizic recorded in Matthews, Emma (2009) Mark Strizic Melbourne: Marvellous to Modern. Melbourne, Thames and Hudson ISBN 9780500500194
  9. ^ Matthews, Emma (2009) Mark Strizic Melbourne: Marvellous to Modern quotes Strizic as saying his first camera was a Diaxette, bought, she comments, "from a chemist shop in Collins Street…a purchase the couple could ill afford at the time". The camera was manufactured by the small DIAX KAMERA WERK in Ulm, Donau, Germany, and was an amateur 35 mm viewfinder (no rangefinder) model, similar to a Contax, with a fixed Cassar 1:2.8 f=45mm lens
  10. ^ Strizic is recorded elsewhere as saying "It happened that the first Christmas we were married we went to Sydney and I saw tourists with cameras around their neck, so I thought I'd better have one too." (Camera and Clne June 1978)
  11. ^ "It really was light – the harshness and strength of the Australian light – the light you don't have In Europe." (Camera and Clne June 1978)
  12. ^ "...Australian opulence, bathed in incisive light." Mark Strizic, artist's statement, Melbourne Life exhibition, Lower Town Hall, Melbourne, July 1992 quoted in Matthews, Emma (2009) Mark Strizic Melbourne: Marvellous to Modern. Melbourne, Thames and Hudson ISBN 9780500500194
  13. ^ The Age, 15 May 1957
  14. ^ Terence Lane, 'Krimper, Schulim (1893–1971)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 2 January 2013.
  15. ^ Buckrich, Judith; Dunstan, Keith; Storey, Rohan; Strizic, Marc (2005). Collins: The Story of Australia's Premier Street. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing Pty, Limited. ISBN 9781740970570.
  16. ^ "...there were many other professionals in the street, especially photographers – including, at some time or another, Helmut Newton, Jack Cato, Wolfgang Sievers and Mark Strizic." Michael Shmith quoted in the catalogue Van Wyck, S. (2006) The Paris End: Photography, Fashion and Glamour. Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, catalogue of the 2006 travelling exhibition first held at The Ian Potter: NGV Australia.
  17. ^ Matthews, Emma and Strizic, Mark (2011) Melbourne: Marvellous to Modern. Thames & Hudson/State Library of Victoria
  18. ^ Neil Clerehan, 'Boyd, Robin Gerard Penleigh (1919–1971)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 2 January 2013.
  19. ^ see Annear, R. (2005) A City Lost & Found: Whelan the Wrecker's Melbourne. Melbourne:Black Inc ISBN 9781863953894
  20. ^ National Gallery of Victoria Collection Stories (online) Melbourne: Seeing modern and contemporary Melbourne[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ News article: Australia’s 12 Best Books announced at the Australian Book Publishers’ Association Convention...includes ‘Melbourne: A Portrait” David Saunders and Mark Strizic (Georgian House). The Age. 25 April 1961 p.2
  22. ^ Mark Strizic entry at Design and Art Australia Online (DAAO), a collaborative e-Research tool built upon the foundations of the Dictionary of Australian Artists Online
  23. ^ Mark Strizic: A Journey in Photography information National Portrait Gallery Travelling Exhibitions site
  24. ^ “The essential ugliness has been glossed with beauty; and this is because Strizic's eye is instinctively selective. From an infinite range of possible shots it selects the ones in which the truth is armatured on a structure of formal beauty. His photographs are about ugliness. but as photographs they are not ugly. Strizic constructs vast and colourful murals [...] that are to be read as decorative abstracts. It comes as something of a shock to realise that these apparently non-figurative schemes are often evolved from a single figurative motif.”. Review by James Gleeson, Sydney Morning Herald , 1 July 1973.
  25. ^ Strizic discussed these processes in an address to “Still Photography?”, International Symposium on digital imaging, Melbourne, April 4 to April 8, 1994".
  26. ^ Still photography? : the international symposium on the transition from analog to digital imaging, The Gallery, [1994], 1994, retrieved 8 April 2017