Beaufoy Merlin Showman and Photographer

In 1951 one of Australia’s most significant collections of nineteenth-century photographs was found in a garden shed in Chatswood, Sydney.1 The 3700 glass plate negatives had been gathering dust for some 80 years after being moved from the North Shore mansion of Bernard Holtermann by his son Leonard.2 Most of the negatives were taken between … Continue reading Beaufoy Merlin Showman and Photographer

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Australian Photogrpahy – Freeman Brothers Sydney

Unidentified man, from collodion negative, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880, Powerhouse Museum, H8504-22 Over the last couple of months I have been working on a previously uncatalogued collection of large format, 50.8 cm x 44.5 cm, glass plate negatives donated to thePowerhouse Museum in 1969. The 28 collodion portraits were found in a chest in our stores at … Continue reading Australian Photogrpahy – Freeman Brothers Sydney

Early Photographs of Sydney by William Hetzer

George St, Sydney, photo by William Hetzer, 1858-1863, original held by Powerhouse Museum The first two photographic processes were the daguerreotype (which created a positive image on a silver plate) and the calotype (which created a paper negative). Both became commercially available in 1839 but ufortunately the small population, patent restrictions and uncertainty about their permanence … Continue reading Early Photographs of Sydney by William Hetzer

19th Century Photography – The Samoan War 1899

U.S. Marines with naval gun, Upolu, Samoa, 1899, published by Kerry and Co Tradition in Samoa dictated that leadership of the islands was to be invested in a hereditary chief, but in the 1880s these claims to power were anything but certain. Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived in Samoa during this period of turmoil, commented that … Continue reading 19th Century Photography – The Samoan War 1899