Nobuhle 2015 and Beno 2016 by Warwick Baker
Credit: Courtesy of the artist and the National Portrait Gallery
Tough and Tender, a new exhibition of portraiture by some of contemporary photography’s most acclaimed practitioners including Robert Mapplethorpe, Larry Clark, Nan Goldin and Collier Schorr, opened this past weekend at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.

Curated by Dr Christopher Chapman, Tough and Tender places landmark international works alongside pieces by contemporary Australian artists like Rozalind Drummond and Warwick Baker to explore the themes of youth, intimacy and gender that are so central to the work of these seminal artists. Many of the works have never before been seen; others, like the work of American fine art photographer Collier Schorr – who works as a top-tier fashion photographer as well – will be shown in Australia for the first time.

For those with a trip to the nation’s capital on the cards, or for whom the joy of negotiating Canberra’s roundabouts is a daily treat, Tough and Tender looks to be an unmissable survey of stellar photography from the 1960s until now by some of the creative geniuses whose work has had an indelible impact on the medium as we know it to be today.

Tough and Tender will run at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra from Friday 15 July until Sunday 16 October 2016.

Untitled (42nd Street Series) 1979 by Larry Clark
Credit: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, courtesy of National Portrait Gallery
Dominik, First Tour, Backnang 2000 and Ralf, Identification (Scars and Tags), Mozartschule 2000
Credit: Courtesy of the artist, 303 Gallery, New York and the National Portrait Gallery
Tile and cover image: Nan and Brian in bed, New York City 1983 by Nan Goldin Credit: © Nan Goldin, courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery, the National Gallery of Australia, and the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra