John Lethbridge was an artist and performance photographer renowned for his post-object practice that drew inspiration from psycho-spiritual philosophies such as Gestalt therapy, Jung and Gurdieff.
He also studied shamanism and eastern philosophy, which became central themes in his artwork. Ultimately, he achieved fame as an important figure in Australian art history due to his influences.
Early Life and Education
John Lethbridge struggled with his career choice while in school. He toyed with the idea of pursuing science or the arts, trying out things like inserting red-headed matches inside chalk and fitting aluminum milk-bottle tops over classroom light bulbs for extra effect, but ultimately decided that the arts were more his forte.
In 1715, John Lethbridge created the first underwater diving machine which enabled him to salvage valuable items from sunken ships. He dived on various wrecks such as four English men-of-war, an East Indiaman (English and Dutch), two Spanish galleons and several galleys.
After leaving school, Lethbridge relocated to Auckland, New Zealand and studied at the Wellington Design School and Elam School of Fine Arts. He stayed there until 1975 when he emigrated to Australia. During the 1980s, he became a major figure in Australian art by participating in galleries and biennales across Australia.
John Lethbridge’s professional career encompassed a variety of tasks. He began as a land surveyor and later founded his own lighting company.
He owns Normandy Station, a large farm near Roma Queensland in Australia. To maintain his vast farm operations, he recently invested in an SDLG LG946L wheel loader from CJD Equipment.
John was an accomplished photographer and author in addition to his work on the property. As a member of the Lethbridge Polish-Canadian Association, he showed great support for his community by volunteering his time. John had an infectious smile and kind spirit that touched everyone around him – an irreplaceable asset that will be greatly missed by those left behind – particularly his wife Lela and three daughters. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him best.
Achievements and Honors
John Lethbridge was the pioneer of underwater diving technology, revolutionizing the traditional diving bells that had been used before. His invention proved immensely successful and revolutionized this practice.
He was an accomplished salvage diver and recovered a vast number of sunken ships. These included four Englishmen-of-war, one East Indiaman (English and Dutch), two Spanish galleons and several galleys.
In 1715, Lethbridge created an innovative diving apparatus. This innovation allowed him to work more efficiently underwater and enabled him to become a highly successful salvage diver, recovering valuable treasure from sunken vessels.
John Lethbridge was a major figure in the New York art scene and focused on issues of psychology and spirituality. He studied Jung and Gurdieff, investigated Kashmiri Shaivism, visited alternative bookstores, and drawn inspiration from eastern philosophy.
His interest in psychology and spirituality was evident through his photography, particularly those created during his tenure in New York. These pictures had a fashionable aesthetic but they dealt with serious subjects: archetypes, animas and animuses; multiple selves and shadow selves; as well as spiritual doctrines and practices.
One of Campion’s most iconic photographs is Divination: Lost at Sea (1979). In it, Campion sits inside an inner tube on Sydney Harbour Bridge and holds out a striped divining rod as if searching for subterranean streams.
John Lethbridge was an Englishman from Devon who invented a revolutionary diving engine. This innovation made diving much safer for divers and enabled them to retrieve valuable ‘treasures’ from sunken ship wrecks on behalf of various shipping companies.
He became well-known for his salvaging skills and became very wealthy as a result. One of his notable salvages was on board the Dutch Slot ter Hooge, which went down off Madeira with three tons of silver on board.