Merv Bishop
Merv Bishop
Merv Bishop

Catch the photos that captured history

Riley Riley

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) celebrates one of Australia’s most prolific and influential photographers, Merv Bishop, with an exhibition that opens in Canberra on March 5.

Born in 1945, Bishop is an Australian news and documentary photographer.

He is also an indigenous man and member of the Murri people.

Joining The Sydney Morning Herald as a cadet about 1962, he was the first Aboriginal Australian to work on a metropolitan daily newspaper and one of the first Aboriginal Australians to become a professional photographer.

In 1971, four years after completing his cadetship, he was named Australian Press Photographer of the Year.

He has continued to work as a photographer and lecturer.

One of the Bishop’s best known works is the picture of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and Vincent Lingiari at the ceremony to mark the handing over the deeds of Wattie Creek back to the Gurindji people in 1975.

Bishop was a staff photographer at the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Canberra when he both captured and created a historic moment representing a major event in the Aboriginal land rights movement.

“Photography has been my life, my passion for 60 years,” Bishop said.

“The art and technique, the stories I’ve witnessed and captured. I’m glad to be able to share my life’s work with the public.”

Tickets to the Mervyn Bishop exhibition are available from February 15 at

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