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Harmony of Shape





The harmony of shape created by the oval shape of the woman’s head crowned by the smaller oval of the baby possum creates an almost symmetrical, harmonious composition.


It is a simple image that, reinforced by the harmonious shapes, tells a great story of friendship between the woman and the possum.

Herbert Basedow made a number of journeys into the interior of Australia, documenting the life and customs of the Aboriginal people. He carried a variety of cameras, depending on his method of travel.


Some images taken with large format cameras using glass plate negatives are of superb quality, while others taken with small, portable cameras, when traveling by camel, are soft and blurred even though the subjects and composition may be excellent.


“Light, portable Kodaks only were taken – a No. 2 pocket folding and a No. 1 panorama. Mr George carried a No. 1 pocket folding apparatus. The films were kept in tins, the lids of which were sealed with strips of adhesive plaster. (1)

By Herbert Basedow (1881–1933) (National Museum of Australia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Herbert Basedow (1881-1933) “Woman with Pet Possum on her Head” (1922)


H. Basedow (1881-1933) Notes on some Of The Native Tribes of Central Australia, David M. Welch, 2008, p. 129

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