The Remarkable Mr.Gruzman and Mr.Murcutt

Posted on March 13, 2014 by Peter Hyatt | 0 Comments

Portraiture doesn't always have to be warm and fuzzy. In fact some of the best is tough, confronting. The late Sydney architect Neville Gruzman didn't care for this local project at all. He saw the Centenary Bandstand as a piece of post-modern irrelevance and his resistance informs this portrait as he stands defiant against the backdrop in Sydney's Centennial Park. Despite his angst, Gruzman was the absolute gentleman. And a one-off. Much about the portrait reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock. The hard lighting, the shadow and formidable stance. Impeccably dressed and mannered, Gruzman railed against lousy development and wasn't afraid to speak his mind on the  subject. He sensed fellow travellers and took Jenny and I on a magical mystery tour of Sydney pointing out its best and worst. And all done with typical panache in his convertible Rolls-Royce. We felt like champagne socialists spinning around town with the rag-top down and a walnut grove dashboard. We returned to his wonderful house for afternoon tea and cake and have nothing but fond memories of an architect from another time and place.

Also featured on our Portraits pages, Glenn Murcutt needs no introduction. His image was taken around 1984 at the Kempsey Museum, northern NSW. It seemed an appropriate place to photograph a man who was often described as The Man of Steel such was his use of corrugated sheet. Murcutt was obliging and affable and in the years to come would be the subject of a documentary we directed and produced titled Touch the Earth Lightly. We took many portraits of him over the years and his sparkling curiosity is conveyed in each of them. We stayed at his fabulous Kempsey Farmhouse, followed him to New Guinea, Finland, Arnhem Land and Sydney and the result of our labours is in the feature - Touch the Earth Lightly - under Film on this site. It featured twice on SBS Masterpiece, was distributed worldwide and has a special place at HyattGallery.

Posted in Glenn Murcutt, Glenn Murcutt film/video, Glenn Murcutt portrait, Neville Gruzman, Neville Gruzman portrait, Touch the Earth Lightly


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