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Marking time

Marking time on photography

Thursday 29 May 2014

Gongs for Thom and Dick

I am delighted that two old friends were recognised in the 2014 Queensland Memory Awards last night.

Thom Blake, historian, was awarded the John Oxley Library Fellowship​—​a 12 month res­i­dency to further his research on the Great Arte­sian Basin. A great choice. I have been to a few arte­sian bores with Thom and know how keen he is, so I’m looking forward to the results.

Richard Stringer, photographer, received the John Oxley Library Award … for his work in documenting Queensland’s landscape and architecture over the past 40 years.

I’ve followed Richard’s work since 1967 or 1968​—​I don’t recall which year, but I do remember that first exhibition in an upstairs gallery in central Brisbane. I was a high-school student interested in photography and Richard was an architect branching out into photography. He showed black and white prints of buildings and architectural features. I remember the graphic treatment of the subjects, with bold shadows, lines and textures accentuated by darkroom manipulations​—​high contrast, solarisation, bas-relief.

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Saturday 8 March 2014

Getty Images: free at last?

For years, Getty Images has tried to stop web publishers using images from its library of pictures unless they pay money to Getty. The company has tracked down pirates and chased them through the courts to recover licence fees. But, in a sudden re­ver­sal, the company has an­nounced a new scheme. Bloggers and other non-commercial users can use images on their web­sites at no charge​—​as long as the images remain on Getty’s servers and are displayed using Getty’s code.

I know there’s no such thing as a free lunch. When I first heard about it, I didn’t see why Getty Images would do this. But now I do​—​thanks to Peter Krogh who has explained how this could be part of a cunning plan.

With that new understanding, and just as an experiment, I am happy to try it out. So here is a picture of a lighthouse, courtesy of Getty Images.

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Saturday 21 September 2013

An atlas of photographic processes

The Getty Conservation Institute has released a terrific resource for collectors and custodians of historic photographs.

The Atlas of Analytical Signatures of Photographic Processes is intended for practicing photograph conservators, cu­ra­tors, art historians, archivists, library professionals, and anyone responsible for the care of photograph collections. Its purpose is to aid in the formulation of analytical ques­tions related to a particular photograph and to assist sci­en­tists unfamiliar with analysis of photographs when in­ter­preting analytical data. The Atlas contains in­ter­pre­ta­tion guides with identification of overlaps of spectral peaks and warnings of potential misidentification or mis­in­ter­preta­tion of analytical results.

It’s published as a set of free pdf documents​—​an Introduction, plus separate chapters on the Albumen, Carbon, Collodion on paper, Collotype, Cyanotype, Halftone, Photogravure, Platino­type, Salt print, Silver gelatin, and Woodburytype processes​—​with the promise of more to come. Each of these chapters has an historical account of the development and use of the process, and a guide to identifying photographs made by that process. The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion methods include looking at the print with the naked eye (which I can do), low-magnification microscopy (which I can manage, sort of, with hand lens and scanning), and using XRF and ATR-FTIR spectometry (not possible for me, but interesting to read about).

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Tuesday 10 September 2013

Esoteric London: the book

Every morning, over a nice cup of tea, I check the Esoteric London blog and enjoy another quirky juxtaposition of a new photograph and a bit of old text. It’s a pleasure, and sometimes a hazardous distraction.

Roger Dean, the photographer and blogger, has been working on a self-published book which is now, at last, almost ready to print. This is not some quickie print-on-demand number, but a proper book (with belly band). Roger has just launched a Kickstarter project to get the job onto the press. I’ve pledged my support!

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Friday 2 August 2013

Steam Ship ‘Hibernian’

To go with the carte-de-visite of the SS Denmark with its cabin plan on the back, I have another​—​showing the SS Hibernian. Perhaps this is the start of a collection.

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Tuesday 23 July 2013

The purser of the steam yacht ‘Merrie England’

Since Papua New Guinea is in the news, I’ll mention a cabinet photograph I recently bought from a dealer in England. It’s a portrait of a handsome young man wearing a naval officer’s cap and coat. It suggested a few lines of inquiry.

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Monday 8 July 2013

A severe blow

A while ago in Dunedin I visited the Otago Settlers Museum, an institution founded in 1898, the 50th anniversary of the first Scot­tish settlement of Otago. In the beginning the museum fo­cused on the earliest European arrivals​—​from 1848 until 1861 when the gold rush started. The focus gradually wid­­ened to ac­knowl­edge more recent arrivals and, eventually, the Māori people who had been there all along. In 2012 the museum was renamed Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. Toitū is the Māori name of a stream that once flowed near the site, and the word carries other con­no­ta­tions, as the museum website explains.

In the museum is an ‘early colonists’ gallery, purpose-built in the early 1900s. In this large square room, lit by lantern windows at the top of the hipped ceiling, there are hundreds of framed pho­to­graphs stacked six rows high. It’s very impressive, and gives the impression that anybody who can’t point to an ancestor on the wall is a newcomer.

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Sunday 19 May 2013

Advice to doorknocking politicians

Social media, 19th century style: This article in the South Australian Weekly Chronicle for 16 July 1859 shows that using the latest technology for electioneering is no new thing.

TO MEMBERS ABOUT TO VISIT THEIR CONSTITUENTS.

A member can pay a visit now to his constituents either in person or in the more elegant form of a visiting card, that not merely contains his electioneering address, but also his name and physiognomy in full. This is a new feature, that has never yet been put on the canvass of an election. For instance, we are informed by an advertisement that​—​

“Messrs. A. Marion & Co. think it will be of great advantage to candidates who cannot possibly wait personally upon all their constituents to use their Photographic Visiting Cards, which will prove a great saving of both time and trouble in canvassing. They will also afford the electors an op­por­tu­ni­ty of having a correct portrait of the hon. gentleman seek­ing their suffrages.”

In this way are likenesses brought home to every man’s door. What a boon, too, conferred on those delinquent M.P.s, who, conscious of having voted wrong, hav’nt the courage to face their constituents in any other form than that of photography. If they are not gifted with the call of eloquence, such a visit saves them an infinity of stuttering and stammering ; and yet, the little they so say is spoken strictly by the card, and must go home, if left at the right house. The boon would be further increased if Messrs. Marion would take off the entire supporters of Lord Derby, and take them off so effectually, that we should never see them again.
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Saturday 18 May 2013

John Deazeley’s backdrop

Here’s an object that tickles my interest in three branches of history​—​photography, lighthouses, and the region where I live.

It’s a cabinet photograph made in the 1880s by John Deazeley, a photographer with a studio in Queen Street, Brisbane. Queen Street was, and still is, the main com­mer­cial street in the city. Three other Brisbane photographers had Queen Street studios then​—​Thomas Mathew­son, Albert Lomer, and Eddie Hutchison.

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Friday 9 November 2012

Piggyback princess

In September 1868 Princess Alexandra was photographed with her baby daughter Louise riding piggyback. The picture makes the princesses look like ordinary people. Perhaps because of its charming informality this photograph, published as a carte-de-visite, was a best seller. Loyal subjects, in their hundreds of thousands, bought copies to put in their albums. One of these has found its way into my collection.

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Tuesday 24 July 2012

Ten digital years

I got my first digital camera ten years ago, and since then I have acquired several others. Who am I kidding. The true number is not several, it’s ten. Let me explain…

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Tuesday 26 June 2012

A well-executed likeness

I just added to my little collection a carte-de-visite portrait of Colonel Samuel Wensley Blackall (1809-1871). Blackall was ap­point­ed Governor of Queensland in 1868, and died in office. In the photograph he sits in an arm chair with a sword between his legs and a feather hat on his knee. The setting is plain​—​there are no drapes, no columns, no furniture apart from the chair. The only decoration is the patterned linoleum on the studio floor.

It’s odd that he was photographed sitting down, rather than standing upright in a formal military pose as I would have ex­pected for a governor’s portrait. Perhaps he was suffering from the illness from which he died. I don’t know what ailment caused his death, but I have read a suggestion it was something he caught in the tropics​—​he had been governor of colonies in West Africa and the West Indies.

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Monday 5 March 2012

The Byrne family at Cape Moreton

Just because I enjoy looking at this evocative image so much, I am posting this photograph from the Byrne family collection.

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Friday 20 January 2012

Kodak in collapse

The news that Kodak has filed for bankruptcy in the US prompts me to think about this company, which dominated the com­mer­cial and technical aspects of photography throughout the twen­tieth century. Among the many Kodak products I have used, I fondly remember my first two cameras, the Carousel projector, Kodachrome film, the 100 mm Wide Field Ektar lens on my first 4x5 camera, and countless Austral postcards.

In 1888, with the introduction of the first Kodak camera George Eastman changed photography by allowing ordinary people to take photos without needing their own darkroom. The camera was sold loaded with a roll of film that could take 100 pictures. Owners sent the camera back to the Kodak factory for pro­cess­ing, printing and reloading. Hence Kodak’s slogan, “You press the button, we do the rest.”

This was a social transformation as great, in its time, as the intro­duction of the mobile phone camera.

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Sunday 15 May 2011

Steam Ship ‘Denmark’

Millions of carte-de-visite photographs were produced in the second half of the nineteenth century. Almost all of them were studio portraits, but there were also a few topographic subjects like buildings and landscapes. Even rarer were cartes produced as commercial advertisements, and here is an example.

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Saturday 25 December 2010

Ah, Kodachrome…

I haven’t shot any Kodachrome for years, but I feel a slight sad­ness knowing that I’ll never be able to do so again. Kodak stop­ped selling the film a year ago, and the last Kodachrome lab in the world (Dwayne’s Photo Service, in Kansas) will stop processing the film in the next few days. This marks the end of a long run​—​since 1935​—​for a film that was noted for its sharpness, colour fidelity and archival stability.

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Thursday 5 August 2010

Mr Rigby’s photographic studio

Why did a nineteenth century photographer in a Yorkshire village call his business the Australian studio?​—​a question prompted by a carte-de-visite I just bought.

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Tuesday 1 June 2010

Camouflage

A lucky find: This odd photograph, in an album of Queensland views, in the collection of the State Library of Queensland. The catalogue entry says the album was created by Henry Mobsby, a photographer on the staff of the Department of Agriculture and Stock, perhaps for presentation to James Orr, a senior bureaucrat in the Department.

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Tuesday 11 May 2010

Daniel Marquis in Scotland

Four more cartes-de-visite have joined my little collection of the work of the photographer Daniel Marquis (1829-1879). These give us a glimpse of the work he did in Scotland, before he emigrated to Australia.

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Monday 29 March 2010

Pro-macassar

I have just re-discovered this portrait in my little box of cabinet photos. How could you look this stylish fellow in the face and remain anti-macassar?

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Thursday 9 July 2009

Carte-de-visite or visiting card?

I have just bought a little photograph on ebay. It’s not from Queensland, so it doesn’t fit my collection, but it took my fancy.

On the front is an albumen print, rather faded, of a pretty Italianate villa, with stone arcades, polychrome brickwork, cast iron filigree cresting, and a conservatory. The house sits in a picturesque garden, with strolling paths and flower beds. I think it’s a copy of a watercolour picture of the scene, not a photograph from life. It looks like the house of somebody who had done well in Melbourne, perhaps as a merchant or a speculator in mining stock.

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Tuesday 3 March 2009

Panoramic Queensland

The other day I went to the State Library of Queensland to see Panoramic Queensland, an exhibition of panoramic pho­to­graphs from the John Oxley Library collection. This is a fine showing of several dozen panoramas of Brisbane and other Queensland places.

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Thursday 1 January 2009

Merry and happy, again

As a sequel to a previous greeting card here is another nineteenth century photographic greeting card from Tasmania. This one is not an ordinary carte-de-visite, but a somewhat larger card measuring 125mm by 82mm. The Loebenstein Company of Vienna produced more than two dozen sizes of cards for mounting photographs. This size was known by the charming name of Elisabeth.

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Wednesday 14 May 2008

Another Daniel Marquis photo

I have just acquired another carte-de-visite photo from the studio of Daniel Marquis. It’s a scruffy specimen but I am glad to have it. I’ve added it to my online museum. On the back is some writing in a language-other-than-English. Would anybody care to identify the language, and tell me what it says, please?

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Thursday 14 February 2008

Where is this?

I’m intrigued to know the identity of the Queensland bush township in this old lantern slide.

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Friday 26 October 2007

At last, a Daniel Marquis photograph

I am now the owner of an original carte-de-visite photograph by my distant relative Daniel Marquis, proprietor of a photographic studio in George Street, Brisbane. He established the studio in 1866, not long after arriving from Scotland. He died in 1879.

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Thursday 27 September 2007

Roger Fenton in the Crimea: quizzing the evidence

Just published in the New York Times​—​an article by doc­u­men­tary filmmaker Errol Morris about two photographs taken by Roger Fenton on the same day in April 1855. Both are entitled Valley of the shadow of death and show a road curving through a valley outside of Sebastopol. The landscape in both is littered with cannon balls.

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Wednesday 27 June 2007

Bernd Becher, 1931-2007

I’m saddened to read that Bernd Becher has died. Bernd, with his wife and photographic partner Hilla, produced a wonderful body of work recording industrial structures. They photographed mine­shaft headframes, water towers, blast furnaces, gas holders, grain silos and the like, all in a deadpan monochrome style that stressed the typological consistencies and inconsistencies of their subjects.

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Friday 26 January 2007

Running the numbers

Chris Jordan’s Running the numbers: an American self-portrait is a series of photographs that looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Here are images that give scale to the numbers.

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Friday 6 October 2006

Reticulation

Seen at Werribee Open Range Zoo: a reticulated giraffe.

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Saturday 1 July 2006

The grand tour: travelling the world with an architect’s eye

In this pleasing and quirky book Harry Seidler lays out a collection of his travel photographs. He has been an ardent traveller, photographer and observer of architecture since he was a student.

My photographer brother, Marcell (1919-1977) gave me simple advice when I started to record architectural sites “Only use Leica cameras and Kodachrome film, which is archival”. I have adhered to this in taking all images in this book, some over 50 years ago.
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Wednesday 19 April 2006

Cameratruck

Forgive me if I seem obsessed with big cameras, but I must point out the website of a gang of loonies who are driving around Spain with a cargo van converted into a big camera.

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Thursday 30 March 2006

John Ruskin’s Daguerreotypes?

From an article in the UK Telegraph newspaper yesterday:

A small country firm of auctioneers has been left em­bar­rassed but elated after selling a box of photographs it valued at £80 for £75,000.
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Thursday 26 January 2006

Letters from the Crimea

Roger Fenton was the first photographer to take a camera to war, in 1855. The letters he wrote to his family and business as­so­ci­ates during this campaign can now be read on the web. Along with the 25 letters there are some introductory essays and a good collection of links.

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Monday 19 December 2005

The Stock Route

As a small contribution to Alan Griffiths’ work of building a comprehensive website about photography, here is a photograph from my collection.

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Wednesday 28 September 2005

A postcard from Germany

Jaroslav Poncar, wonderful panoramic photographer of Ladakh and other places, has sent me a pdf postcard. It announces the launch of his new book Himalayas: where gods and man meet. He calls it a supercoffeetablebook. At 34 x 48 cm it would fit on our coffee table, but it’s too big for the book shelves. I want one!

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Saturday 27 August 2005

Bitter fruit

That fine photographer Paul Fusco has recorded the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq. He has web-published 44 of his pictures, with his voice-over narrative, under the title Bitter fruit.

Fusco is passionate, and thoroughly engaged with his subject. He takes us along on his private and independent quest. He is the antithesis of the embedded reporter. The work is published by Magnum Photos, the agency owned by Fusco and other photographers.

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Sunday 31 July 2005

How the other half lived

My thanks to Paul Giambarba for a link to an online version of Jacob Riis’s How the other half lives.

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Wednesday 15 June 2005

Fire scars in the desert

I enjoyed the startling calligraphy of these fire scars in the Simpson Desert.

The fire scars were produced in a recent fire, probably within the last year. The image suggests a time sequence of events. Fires first advanced into the view from the lower left​—​parallel with the major dune trend and dominant wind direction. Then the wind shifted direction by about 90 degrees so that fires advanced across the dunes in a series of frond-like tendrils. Each frond starts at some point on the earlier fire scar, and sharp tips of the fronds show where the fires burned out naturally at the end of the episode. The sharp edges of the fire scars are due to steady but probably weak southwesterly winds—weaker winds reduced sparking of additional fires in adjacent scrub on either side of the main fire pathways. Over time, the scars will become less distinct as vegetation grows back.
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Tuesday 9 November 2004

The real toy story

75% of the world’s toys are made in China. See the website of an art gallery installation by Michael Wolf. [via Coudal Partners]

The project was conceived in the spring of 2003 during a visit to the United States. As a surprise for my son Jasper, I bought a sack (app. 600) of second hand toys at the local goodwill store and distributed them on every available sur­face in his room — surprise! The effect was stunning. As we examined the toys closer we made a discovery — every sin­gle one was made in China. Jasper observed: “I thought Santa and his helpers made toys!” It was then the idea came to me: what if I was to make an installation and cover an entire wall with toys “made in China” and juxtapose them with portraits of Chinese toy-factory workers?
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Monday 4 October 2004

Avedon postscript

On The New Yorker website is Adam Gopnik’s short obit. for Richard Avedon. Here is the opening para.:

To know Dick Avedon was to know the sun. He radiated out, early and daily, on a circle of friends and family and colleagues, who drew on his light and warmth for sustenance. When he died, last week, at the age of eighty-one, some light seemed to go out in many lives and around many pleasures. For, though he was incandescent in his presence, he was surprisingly domestic in his enthusiasms; he believed in family as passionately as he believed in art, and could leave an hour-long conversation about Goya’s horrors to talk with the same avidity about how to light a room or roast a leg of lamb.
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Saturday 2 October 2004

Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon, photographer, has died on the job at the age of 81. I have admired his stark black and white portraits since I saw his oversized book Nothing personal (with text by James Baldwin, 1964).

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Thursday 5 August 2004

Driving a nail

Thanks to Jeremy for pointing out the New York Times’s obituary for Henri Cartier-Bresson. It contains this quote from the photographer:

My contact sheets may be compared to the way you drive a nail in a plank. First you give several light taps to build up a rhythm and align the nail with the wood. Then, much more quickly, and with as few strokes as possible, you hit the nail forcefully on the head and drive it in.
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Wednesday 4 August 2004

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson died today. Magnum Photos, the agency he co-founded in 1947, has published a collection of photos of him.

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Friday 26 March 2004

Packing my camera bag

It’s always a diversion, thinking about what camera gear to take on a trip. So, what should I pack for our sabbatical in New Zealand?

It’s easy to set out the principle: Not too much, but not too little. Nice aphorism, but what does it mean in practice?

I have no doubt where to start. The newer of my two Canon F-1 bodies, built in April 1977. The F-1 is a climax in the evolution of the mechanical single lens reflex 35mm camera — robust, precise and modular. With a Nikkor 28mm PC (perspective correcting) lens and a gridded viewing screen, this is my first choice for taking pictures of buildings.

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Friday 12 March 2004

Dan Price’s moonlight chronicles

The Morning News has a delightful interview with Dan Price, artist, writer and publisher of The moonlight chronicles.

After working as a photojournalist for 10 years I sold all my cameras and began documenting my own little life instead of everyone else’s. Using a pen and paper I was able to document what I was seeing without a machine between me and the subject. If you draw lots you can become very addicted to that peaceful state of being. It’s definitely my drug of choice!
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Tuesday 10 February 2004

A parcel from Thailand

Writing about last month’s special place sent me casting the net for the books of Dr Jaroslav Poncar. There is one at the State Library of Queensland (hidden away in the stacks), and another in the Queensland University of Technology Library (at a campus on the other side of town).

Amazon has some of his books, but not the one I found in a Bangkok bookshop.

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Friday 28 November 2003

Charles Cushman photographs

Charles Weever Cushman, amateur photographer and Indiana University alumnus, bequeathed approximately 14,500 Kodachrome color slides to his alma mater. The photographs in this collection bridge a thirty-two year span from 1938 to 1969, during which time he extensively documented the United States as well as other countries.
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Tuesday 11 November 2003

Over the top

For Remembrance Day, a reminder that arguments about the authenticity of the photographic record are not new.

Frank Hurley, in France with the Australian troops in 1917, wrote about the problems of recording what was going on around him:

I have tried, and tried again, to include events on a single negative but the results have been hopeless. Everything is on such a wide scale … Figures scattered, atmosphere dense with haze and smoke — shells that simply would not burst when required. All the elements of a picture were there, could they but be brought together and condensed. The battle is in full swing, the men are going over the top — I snap. A fleet of bombing planes is flying low, there is a barrage bursting all round. But on developing my plates there is disappointment. All I find is a record of a few figures advancing from the trenches and a background of haze.
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Wednesday 5 November 2003

Harriett Brims, photographer

My congratulations to the Picture Queensland crew at the State Library of Queensland for adding a collection of photographs by Harriett Brims to their digital collection.

The project news page has a short biography and introduction to the photographer’s work, written by Dianne Byrne, with thumbnail links to some of the photographs. If that page has gone by the time you read this, just search* Picture Queensland for “Harriett Brims”.

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Monday 13 October 2003

Talbot’s correspondence

William Henry Fox Talbot was a philosopher, classicist, Egyptologist, mathematician, philologist, transcriber and translator of Syrian and Chaldean cuneiform texts, physicist, and photographer. The work that he did between 1834 and 1850 established in principle and practice the foundation of modern photography; the basis of the process that is used today. [Fox Talbot Museum]. On 1 November 1851 Talbot wrote to the committee organising the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London:»more»

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Friday 10 October 2003

Paris photographed and rephotographed

As an aside to my special place for this month, here is a link to images of 494 photographs of Paris by Eugène Atget in the George Eastman House collection.

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Tuesday 7 October 2003

The Kodak Brownies

George Eastman’s Kodak company launched the first Brownie camera in 1900. In 1950 Kodak gave free cameras to 500,000 children, to celebrate 50 years of the Brownie line. (And, perhaps, to ensure continued film sales).

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Wednesday 17 September 2003

Stopping the Kodak Carousel

I have seen this message posted to various internet mailing lists:

Eastman Kodak Company has confirmed plans to discontinue the manufacture and sales of slide projection products and accessories in June of 2004. This early disclosure is being made to key user groups in order to allow time for adoption of a replacement technology or purchase of backup slide projector products.

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Wednesday 27 August 2003

Celebrating federation

When the Duke and Duchess of York visited Australia in 1901, the loyal colonists turned on a special welcome. See this little gallery of stereo photographs. Of the six triumphal arches, my favourite is the one made of butter boxes.

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Thursday 14 August 2003

Who owns this photograph?

The Columbia Journalism Review carried an exchange of letters between freelance photographer George Zimbel and the New York Times. The paper paid the photographer for a single use of a picture of John and Jacqueline Kennedy. Forty years later the paper offered the print for sale to collectors for US $4,000. Give it back, it’s mine, said the photographer.

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Thursday 26 June 2003

A Lewis Hine scandal

The Atlantic Monthly website has an article by Richard B Wood­ward, Too much of a good thing: photography, forgery, and the Lewis Hine scandal. Here’s the blurb:

The theoretical physicist who ignited the biggest firestorm in the history of the American photography market was sim­ply trying to figure out if his vintage photos were gen­u­ine. By the time he learned the answer, two of the country’s best-known photography scholars had come under a cloud of suspicion.
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Saturday 7 June 2003

Merry Xmas!

To celebrate the coming winter solstice, here’s an unusual Tasmanian carte-de-visite. Scenic views are not common carte-de-visite subjects, and I don’t remember seeing a CDV Chrismas card before.

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Friday 21 March 2003

Baghdad blogger

Salam Pax (not his real name, surely) writes a weblog from Baghdad. It’s a gripping account of daily life in a city waiting for the onslaught. »more»

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Monday 17 February 2003

Baghdad snapshots

In New York thousands of pictures of people in Baghdad have been pasted up in the streets, a prompt to consider the human consequences of attacking Iraq. Join the campaign.

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Wednesday 12 February 2003

The earth at night

See the earth at night by the light of its cities. The image is a composite of hundreds of pictures made by US Defense Meteorological Satellites.

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Thursday 23 January 2003

Hurley at the National Library

The National Library of Australia has digitised its fabulous collection of Frank Hurley negatives and made the images available on the web. Bravo!

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Thursday 9 January 2003

Signs of discrimination

The US Library of Congress houses the work created in the 1930s by Farm Security Administration photographers​—​Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and others. On the library website is a col­lec­tion of photographs of signs enforcing racial discrimination. From the web page intro:

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Wednesday 1 January 2003

New year’s resolution

To really understand how the T90 and 300TL interact in all their modes.

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Monday 16 December 2002

Saving black rhinos

I read about the work of the Save the Black Rhino Trust through the aus.photo newsgroup. I followed up, and received some more information:

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Wednesday 27 November 2002

A collection of cartes-de-visite

Instead of sitting in a rustic chair in the company of birds I have spent a little time scanning Queensland carte-de-visite pho­tog­raphs so you can see them here.

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Monday 18 November 2002

Photography in street and studio

See Street and studio: popular commercial photography in India and Bangladesh, an article from the online journal Intersections: gender, history and culture in the Asian context. It deconstructs the kind of photography that producted one of my own mugshots.

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Saturday 2 November 2002

Conserving photographs

I spent today at a photographic preservation workshop, looking closely at daguerreotypes, tintypes, ambrotypes and other early photographs, and learning how to care for them. Thanks to Lydia Egunnike, conservator at the State Library of Queensland, for an excellent session. My little collection is in for some tender loving care.

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Wednesday 11 September 2002

Really big cameras

I am prompted by today’s sad anniversary to mention two more big cameras, both even larger than the 20 x 24 inch monsters made by Polaroid and Wisner.»more»

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Friday 23 August 2002

Cold war leftovers

Cold war leftovers is a photographic project by Art Maples:

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Wednesday 24 July 2002

A small camera

Two months after ordering, it arrived today. With a camera like this I could take daily dog pictures, if I had a dog.

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Monday 15 July 2002

Another Karsh obituary

Today the Ottawa Citizen carried a longish obituary for Karsh of Ottawa. I’ll quote a piece about the Churchill portrait I mentioned yesterday:

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Sunday 14 July 2002

Yousuf Karsh

No, I am not obsessed with big cameras, but I must mention that Yousuf Karsh died yesterday. He was the man who made that 1941 photograph of Winston Churchill looking like an affronted bulldog (he removed the Prime Minister’s cigar during the session). See this obituary in the New York Times, a few of his portraits on the Weston Gallery website, and a lot of them on the George Eastman House website.

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Wednesday 3 July 2002

More big cameras

When I wrote about Elsa Dorfman and her massive camera, I didn’t know that the Wisner Classic Mfg. Co. (the largest wooden camera maker in the world) can sell you a new 20 x 24 Technical Field Camera.

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Monday 6 May 2002

Digital darkroom

Yesterday I made my first digital quad-tone prints, a milestone on my way from darkroom to desktop photographic print making. All sorts of new technologies make this possible, and the internet sews it all together: Through the net I found out about film scanners, Photoshop, monitor calibration, printer profiling and inkjet printers. I bought the printer at auction, and shopped on-line for the continuous ink system, the inks and paper. I joined in discussions, and sought information about tech­ni­cal­i­ties and aesthetics.

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Saturday 20 April 2002

Elsa on video

Digging around on Elsa Dorfman’s website, I found this page of links to some documentary video files I had missed. They are all terrific, but see the one about the camera first — unless you have a broadband connection, take a coffee break while it downloads (it’s 8.8mb).

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Friday 19 April 2002

Developments at Polaroid

From today’s news: BOSTON (AP) Polaroid Corp. is hoping a sale to a deep-pocketed bank will help it dig out from bankruptcy and revive its famous instant film and camera business. It’s been a little sad to see such a clever company go down.

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Saturday 16 March 2002

A new Leica

The Leica company has just announced a new M-series camera. The M7 is a descendent of the M3 of 1954, the first Leica range­finder camera with a bayonet lens mount. Details are on the Leica website, or see this review by Irwin Puts.

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Tuesday 26 February 2002

The reptile skinned camera

In 1929 the Ernst Leitz company of Wetzlar made a small batch of Leica Luxus cameras, gold plated and covered with lizard skin, just for the filthy-rich. The Luxus held its value​—​Christies in London sold one in 1994 for £39,600.

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Saturday 23 February 2002

Making a wet collodion negative

The Getty Museum website has a video of this picture-taking process, invented in 1851. By 1880 it was superseded by mass-produced dry plates.

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Wednesday 30 January 2002

More manhole covers

German photographer Roland Mühler’s website includes a gallery of fine photographs of street manhole covers. Remember my snapshot of the one in Chandigarh? Roland’s are much nicer (and there are 45 of them).

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Friday 7 December 2001

Look back in Ingres

This piece in the New York Times is about a symposium featuring painter David Hockney and some art history scholars. Hockney reckoned the Old Masters used more lenses, mirrors and other optical aids than had been thought. Not everyone agreed the debate sounds like fun.

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Thursday 6 December 2001

Photo of the day

Scott Heiferman’s almost wordless weblog.

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Monday 26 November 2001

Indian pictures

I like these evocative photographs of India by Mark Tucker. They remind me of some of my own travelling pictures from 1972. No, I don’t claim to be in the same league.

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Esoteric London: the book
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A severe blow
Advice to doorknocking politicians
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Ten digital years
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Kodak in collapse
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Ah, Kodachrome...
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Merry and happy, again
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Packing my camera bag
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A parcel from Thailand
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Over the top
Harriett Brims, photographer
Talbot's correspondence
Paris photographed and rephotographed
The Kodak Brownies
Stopping the Kodak Carousel
Celebrating federation
Who owns this photograph?
A Lewis Hine scandal
Merry Xmas!
Baghdad blogger
Baghdad snapshots
The earth at night
Hurley at the National Library
Signs of discrimination
New year's resolution
Saving black rhinos
A collection of cartes-de-visite
Photography in street and studio
Conserving photographs
Really big cameras
Cold war leftovers
A small camera
Another Karsh obituary
Yousuf Karsh
More big cameras
Digital darkroom
Elsa on video
Developments at Polaroid
A new Leica
The reptile skinned camera
Making a wet collodion negative
More manhole covers
Look back in Ingres
Photo of the day
Indian pictures

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