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SHADES OF LIGHT online

Based on text from the original book: Shades of Light: Photography and Australia 1839-1988
Gael Newton, 1988 Australian National Gallery

CHAPTER 2               BRIEF CANDLES

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Pioneer photography to 1850

Taking of the first photograph in Australia seems to have been a rather casual affair. On 13 April 1841 the Australasian Chronicle announced the arrival of the daguerreotype in New South Wales:

The inhabitants of Sydney will now have the opportunity of witnessing the effects of this very singular invention, one of the instruments having been brought to the colony by Captain Lucas, late commander of the Naval School expedition. By means of the daguerreotype a correct view of any locality may be taken by any person in five minutes. Captain Lucas intends to dispose of the instrument at prime cost, and it may be seen at the offices of Messrs Joubert and Murphy, Macquarie Place. The purchaser will be fully instructed in the method of taking views.

The demonstration did not take place until 13 May and the only newspaper report was in the Australian of 15 May:

Our readers will be aware that this instrument is the recent invention of M. Daguerre, a Frenchman, who, after many years of study, has succeeded in perfecting it. By means of the transmission of the sun's rays upon a plate of glass, lined with a chemical solution, a faithful picture is formed, upon a small scale, of any landscape required. This picture remains permanently fixed until erased, and may be copied for the purpose of lithographing or engraving. On the occasion we refer to, an astonishingly minute and beautiful sketch was taken of Bridge Street and part of George Street, as it appeared from the fountain in Macquarie Place. It would be worth the attention of any curious reader to ascertain when the instrument will be next used for the purpose of personally witnessing its apparently miraculous effects.

Curiously this report mistook the metal plate for glass and did not name Captain Lucas as the 'gentlemen [sic] who conducted the experiment'. No previous reports on the daguerreotype in the Australian or any other Sydney newspapers have been located, indicating that the readers' prior awareness of photography had probably come from imported newspapers. Lucas, already known in Sydney as the commander of the Naval School Expedition, was probably English* , but nothing more is known of his career or photographic work(1).

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* Update: Captain Lucas was more likely French: Captain Augustin Lucas
THE VOYAGE OF CAPTAIN LUCAS AND THE DAGUERREOTYPE TO SYDNEY by R. Derek Wood
>> a link to a pdf on Captain Lucas  

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In 1841 Bridge Street was a centre of the shipping trade as the warehouses of Macquarie Place backed onto the Tank Stream that led to the docks. It was considered a somewhat unsavoury area, although Macquarie Place contained the fountain and an obelisk (from which all colonial distances were measured) designed by Francis Greenway (1777-1837), Governor Macquarie's convict architect. The original Government House was also located farther up the hill in an easterly direction. The choice of the westward view of Bridge Street may, however, have simply been an arbitrary subject for the demonstration of the daguerreotype.

The Australian debut of an invention described as one of the most marvellous and beautiful of the age does not seem to have evoked any great sense of its historic significance, as no further public or private references to the demonstration or the fate of the daguerreotype have been found. The closest approximation to the view seen by Captain Lucas is an 1850 sketch of Bridge Street looking west by Conrad Martens(2). Although Martens was interested in photography by the time of Lucas' visit, and later took up the daguerreotype process(3), he does not seem to have known of the demonstration at Macquarie Place.

Bridge Street does not seem to have been punctured by the legs of a camera tripod again until around 1858, when William Blackwood and William Hetzer made views on paper with the new wet collodion process, and Frank Haes, a visiting English photographer, made a view using the waxed paper process. Most of these featured the impressive neoclassical Royal Exchange Building, built in 1853-1854 next to the old lumber yard site. Bridge Street had by then been extended up the hill to the Domain and acquired a dignity it lacked in 1841.

Apparently Captain Lucas sailed away with his apparatus. He may have cloaked the processing so that no-one could follow the technical manipulations. English photographer Robert Hunt (1807-1887) was only just publishing the first treatise on all the available processes for metal, glass and paper photography(4). In addition to acquiring the necessary skills and chemicals, any locals who bought Lucas' apparatus would have needed a licence from Daguerre's English agent Miles Berry if they wished to use the daguerreotype commercially(5).

No mention of portraiture by the daguerreotype process was made, and at this stage Lucas and the colonials were probably unaware of technical improvements which had enabled English entrepreneur Richard Beard (1801-1885) to open the first portrait studio in England in March of that year(6). On a scientific level, Lucas would have attracted more publicity had he been able to demonstrate his apparatus before some scientific society but no scientists are known to have taken any interest in the arrival of the daguerreotype. The silence which followed the demonstration of the daguerreotype in Sydney lasted a further eighteen months until December 1842 when George Goodman opened a portrait studio on the roof of the Royal Hotel in George Street.


The arrival of George Goodman (w.1842-1847) from London on 5 November 1842 marks the real beginning of photography in Australia(7). It was a well-planned entrée, for Goodman arrived fully equipped to open a portrait studio. His first advertisement as 'the proprietor of the photographic apparatus', appeared in the Australian of 9 December and on 13 December the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Goodman's blue glass studio had been erected on the roof of the Royal Hotel and officially opened the day before.

The sixty or so 'miniatures' made during the preparation of the studio confirmed that 'the accounts of the English newspapers have not been exaggerated, the likenesses are indeed exact, and the sitter is only kept in suspense about half a minute'.

The cost of a portrait 6.3 by 5.5 centimetres was one guinea without the case, although this protection was essential to the preservation of the fragile mirror surface of the daguerreotype plate. Even so, the newspaper declared the total cost still 'extremely moderate ... less than the cost of a new hat or a box at the theatre'(8) revealing that the clientele for daguerreotypes was to be drawn from those same few thousand leading citizens who could afford painted likenesses(9). Only a few portrait painters were at work in New South Wales and the average cost of a portrait miniature was two to five guineas(10). The new portraits were moderate by comparison.

Goodman is said to have taken lessons from Daguerre in Paris and to have obtained a licence from him(11). However, it is certain that Goodman was in fact one of the first to obtain a colonial licence from Richard Beard who had completed the purchase of the exclusive patent rights from Daguerre in July 1841. Having already made some 3,000 pounds before June, Beard's costs in acquiring the monopoly of the daguerreotype trade in England, Wales and English colonies for 1,050 pounds was quickly recouped(12).

Beard granted licences to a number of provincial studios and opened several studios in addition to his main one at the Royal Polytechnic Institution - a popular exhibition centre in London. On page one of The Times of 18 April 1842, Beard advertised licences for the British colonies(13). As Goodman left England on 15 June it is possible this advertisement was his inspiration to invest in an Antipodean portrait studio.

Goodman arrived at the beginning of one of Australia's worst economic depressions, which was to severely reduce the income of even the most successful local painters. Conrad Martens for example turned to teaching, and the sale of a lithograph of Sydney at one guinea to supplement his yearly income, which dropped from 300 pounds to 60 pounds in the 1840s(14). It is not known how much Goodman paid for his licence but he must have invested at least several hundred pounds in his new business(15).

Beard supplied Goodman over the next few years with both equipment and improved processes, and the latter advertised his 'special advantage of obtaining from the patentee in England every recent improvement in the art'(16). Goodman had also arrived with a 'reflecting apparatus', the Wolcott lensless photographic apparatus that used a concave mirror and 6.3 by 5.5 centimetre plates, specially designed for portrait work. Beard also held the English patent rights for this.

It would seem that many of Goodman's clients were less than pleased with their austere portraits; for after a year in Sydney he found trade was slowing down. Goodman obtained a new apparatus and established himself in Tasmania, the other major centre of the colonies, although it too was suffering from the depression. He was in Hobart from August 1843 and in Launceston until February 1844(17). Goodman had barely established his studio when the local artist Thomas Bock advertised in the Hobart Town Advertiser of 29 September 1843 that, 'in a short time he would be enabled to take photographic likenesses in the first style of the art'. Goodman threatened legal action but he was saved the expense as Bock promptly withdrew(18). Despite his convict background, Bock was a well-patronised portrait painter. At some point he acquired an issue of the English magazine, the Athenaeum of July 1841, containing photographic formulae and later used recipes from Hunt's manual which suggests he may have taken an interest in photography before 1843(19).

Goodman evidently put his new, larger apparatus to work in Hobart taking views — the first made in Australia since the original 1841 view of Bridge Street. The Hobart Town Courier of 26 January 1844 praised a set of 'beautifully executed daguerreotype views of our rising metropolis' which were compared to mezzotints and found to represent the original with more felicity even than in the case of portraits'. These views would have cost about five guineas each, a considerable sum then, but their subsequent fate is not known.

On departing from Tasmania, Goodman sold some apparatus, probably the defunct Wolcott apparatus, to John Flavelle who was described as having been his assistant for two years(20). Flavelle, who set up in Launceston, did not last long and may even have been the source for the amateur work of William Goodwin (d.1862), editor of the Cornwall Chronicle, who evidently experimented with the process in 1844(21). A few primitive looking daguerreotypes in Tasmanian collections are possibly from the early 1840s.

Goodman set up a new ground floor studio in Sydney and the next year began regional tours. According to a newspaper report, some one hundred subscribers were required in advance before he made a Visit(22). It was in Bathurst that the only positively identified Goodman portraits were made in May 1845. These were of the family of William Lawson II, son of a pioneer explorer(23).

It is fascinating to regard one of these first known portraits. Mrs Caroline Lawson holds her second son Thomas proudly, and of necessity firmly, during the long exposure. Her black shawl covers their neck braces. Despite this discomfort Mrs Lawson manages a Mona Lisa smile - it is instantly recognisable as the stance of a proud mother, she being one of the fortunate first generation of mothers to have real images of their children.

The expression on Thomas Lawson's face however is fixed and uncertain. It is the 'Is the picture taken, can I relax yet?' look. This basic response to the camera appears in the stiff gesture and glance of thousands of later portrait photographs.

In addition to his extensive tours of New South Wales, Goodman made visits to the other main settlements, Melbourne in the Port Phillip district, and Adelaide, South Australia. Goodman was in Melbourne from early August until mid-December 1845, when his income was reported as a staggering 870 pounds(24). With some allowance for Sundays he accommodated some twenty sitters a day, or made a number of expensive large daguerreotypes.

John Cotton (1802-1849), a pastoralist on the Goulburn River, commented on Goodman's Melbourne work as 'generally well managed and more forcible in light and shade than those I saw done in England, owing probably to the stronger and clearer light here'(25). Cotton, an amateur painter, took up daguerreotype work himself in October 1846.

Goodman appears to have been the first professional photographer in Melbourne. However in Adelaide as in Hobart he had some predecessors and competition. Local optician William Little had briefly offered a daguerreotype portrait service from 26 August 1845 and experimented with calotype still-life studies and photograms(26).

In December local dentist Mr Robert Norman and photographer, German emigrant, C.A.F. Heseltine, had also opened a short-lived studio before Heseltine joined with another German photographer Edward Schohl, who had arrived in Adelaide in January 1846(27). By February, Heseltine and Schohl had set up a studio but despite the claim of Schohl that he could provide 'larger plates than any previously seen', their business petered out(28).

A mystery surrounds the importation of a daguerreotype camera by local artist S.T. Gill (1818-1880) whose intention to start a portrait service was implied by a report in the South Australian Register of 8 November 1845. It is possible that Gill had a supply of sample portraits, for although the apparatus was said:

To take likenesses as if by magic. The sitter is reflected in a piece of looking glass, and suddenly, without aid of brush or pencil his reflection is 'stamped' and crystallised'. It is the man himself ... We understand Mr Gill will soon be prepared to show us as we are.

Gill seems not to have practised or to have considered taking the camera on the Horrocks Expedition which he joined as an unpaid artist in July 1846.

Gill's camera may have been bought by Robert Hall (c.1821-1866), a publican in Currie Street who had acted as an agent for Edward Schohl on his arrival. Hall set up his studio in April 'with the camera lately imported from Paris’(29) and was proficient enough by November 1846 to take the first photographs in Western Australia on a whirlwind eight-day visit to Perth(30). Hall exhibited daguerreotype portraits of Aboriginals in the Exhibition of Pictures, the works of Colonial Artists organised by S.T. Gill in Adelaide in 1847, and street scenes of Adelaide in the sequel exhibition of 1848(31).

Hall continued in business till 1866 and made stereo daguerreotypes and ambrotypes, as well as paper prints. Only a few poor examples of his output survive(32). Although probably not Australian born, Hall is one of the earliest residents to begin and maintain a successful studio in Australia. He was the first photographer to have work included in a public exhibition. Hall had considerable interest and expertise in natural history and his advertisements contained some quite long technical explanations. He later styled himself 'Professor Hall', although he had no academic qualifications. Hall had some competition from other daguerreotypists, Kopsch and May, Norwood Potter and a visiting Englishman, William Ogelsby in 1849, but until the arrival of the Duryea brothers in 1855 he was the leading daguerreotypist in Adelaide.

Goodman(33), like Daguerre, did not live to see the end of the daguerreotype era but the competition he found in Hobart and Adelaide may have indicated the end of the days of fabulous fortunes from monopolies and exclusive licences.

He had no real professional competition during his four and a half years in Australia. By the time of his departure Goodman was offering gold-toned, coloured, cased daguerreotypes with a choice of backdrops painted from his own daguerreotype views taken on his tours for the same price as his original monochrome, untoned and uncased 6.3 by 5.5 centimetre plates of 1842(34). At every stage his income seems to have been staggering in comparison to that of any painter, though he seems not to have used this to enter high society or local scientific circles.

Only a few positively identified portraits by Goodman exist and a few possible attributions distinguished by their small size and primitive appearance. Thousands of other examples have either been destroyed, have faded or lie forgotten in drawers in Australia and England, where so many portraits were sent 'home'.

With so few examples it is hard to say what sort of a craftsman Goodman was. The fact that even those he instructed failed to enjoy the same success and so few of those who tried to start studios succeeded, at least indicates his business and social acumen. Several accounts of his sitters survive and most of these are disgruntled. Charles and William Archer, early settlers in the Moreton Bay district (later Queensland), had their portraits taken in Sydney in 1843. William described his, when dispatching it to his family in Norway, as:

A most hideous, sulky, sepulchral daub, which you must attribute to the fact that it was taken when the art was yet in its infancy in the colony, and from my extreme aversion to spend an additional twenty-six shillings for the chance of a second failure. Charlie's on the contrary is considered a good likeness.

Still later in 1847, he observed that:

The violent effort the sitter makes to look amiable even for so short a time, gives that sort of desperate determination to the expression which is almost always seen in Daguerreotypes . . . (35)

Miss Mary Thomas in Adelaide described her family's visits to Robert Hall on two occasions in April 1846: 'he did not succeed very well, so that the plates will most likely be rubbed clean again as the others were'.

Earlier, on 16 February her mother, Mrs Mary Thomas, had visited Goodman's studio and on 30 January the diary records:

I was very much pleased a few days ago by seeing some portraits beautifully thrown off in Daguerreotype [by Schohl]. These were the second number of specimens of the Daguerreotype likenesses that have been shown to me(36).

Shortly after his return from Adelaide, Goodman's work was declared equal to that of the English daguerreotypists, examples of which would have arrived with new emigrants from late 1842 onwards. In a long tribute to his new larger plates, scenic backgrounds, full figures and clearer images, which did not have to be tilted to be seen, the Sydney Morning Herald of 4 April 1846 recalled his early work as 'a nine days wonder' which soon 'died a natural death'.

Examples of Goodman's views or even his new improved style of 1846-1847 have not been found. The few extant examples of his daguerreotypes which have survived confirm that photography in Australia was from the beginning an art of vigour and pictorial power. It was also, it seems, a very remunerative art, for Goodman possibly made some ten to twenty thousand daguerreotypes during his four and a half years in Australia.

His income must have equalled that of many businessmen and certainly more than any artist. This is a twentieth century assessment, but the lesson would also have been apparent to Goodman's contemporaries. His departure was followed by a new league of photographers.

In 1847 when Goodman retired, Sydney, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne and Adelaide had resident photographers and Launceston and Perth, as well as regional towns in New South Wales, had been visited by at least one photographer. Some dozen amateur and professional photographers had been at work in Australia since 1841. In the next few years, resident photographers were established in each of the remaining centres. Only the Moreton Bay district (Queensland) in the north did not see photographers until the I850s(37).


A new league

Some amateur daguerreotype and calotype activity was carried out in Tasmania in 1843-1844. A calotype camera was offered for sale by Dr Udny shortly after his arrival in 1843(38). One Launceston resident had a book of calotypes of St Andrews, Scotland, which he brought to the attention of the newspapers in 1844(39). In addition to the work of William Goodwin of the Cornwall Chronicle in Launceston, the Reverend Charles Price (1807-1891) is also reputed to have made daguerreotypes in the late 1840s. Price gave the first lecture in 1842 at the Launceston Mechanics' Institute and was as keen a promoter of science as religion, being deeply interested in electromagnetic apparatus(40).

Flavelle had only lasted a few weeks in Launceston in 1844. He may have found Beard would not supply him with goods without a licence. Tasmanians had to wait until 1846 when Thomas Browne (1816-1870) a Hobart publisher, lithographer and stationer advertised daguerreotype portraits(41). By 1848 Thomas Bock, who had tried to compete with Goodman in 1843, had also commenced taking likenesses. He was assisted by his young stepson Alfred Bock who, much later in 1919, recalled how they had started their studio with a camera bought from an 'impecunious Frenchman'. As well, they imported a half-plate camera from Ross of London with a good lens and reversing mirror. This was perhaps at a later stage as half-plate daguerreotype portraits were extremely rare at this time and the newspapers would surely have mentioned them. Alfred also noted that Bishop Nixon had received some Beard studio portraits which they ‘determined to rival'(42).

G.T.Y. B. Boyes (1787-1853), who kept a remarkable diary of events in Van Diemen's Land from 1820-1853, records his visits to both Browne and Bock's studios for daguerreotype portraits in late 1849(43). It seems Bock may have been optimistic in his earlier 1843 announcements that he would take fine daguerreotypes, as Boyes records on 25 August that Bock had made three or four unsuccessful attempts to take his sons' likenesses. He added his opinion that, 'Bock understands the nature of his apparatus but very imperfectly!' One year later Boyes was still taking his sons to Bock for portraits, and still complaining. 'His impressions are small trumpery things and of course cannot yield him much, if any profit'(44). It was not till 1853 that Boyes finally declared a portrait of his son Lukin 'a capital likeness'(45). If Goodman's output is any guide to the profitability of adding daguerreotype portraits to his output. Bock was being quite sensible in extending his income in this way.

As Boyes appears to have been an easily irritated character, he may have made the photographers nervous. It is interesting that he expected instant gratification. Such was the expectation of photography as a speedy system, that the great advance over the time and cost of painted portraits seems not to have registered.

Only about a dozen daguerreotypes have been identified or attributed to Thomas Bock. These often feature elaborate backgrounds, perhaps to be expected of a painter photographer, with a characteristic piece of trailing ivy. Bock also painted portraits from his own daguerreotypes although the final paintings or sketches only slightly betray the 'stare' so often seen in such translations(46).

No further view daguerreotypes appear to have been taken in Tasmania until October 1848, when a visiting English photographer, J.W. Newland eclipsed any local efforts with an extraordinary display of over 200 views and portraits taken on his travels in the Southern Hemisphere. His Daguerrean Gallery which was set up first in Sydney in March 1848, then in Hobart in a building on the corner of Murray Street, included:

the only correct likenesses ever taken of Pomare, Queen of Otaheite, the King, the Royal Family, Chiefs, and several other Natives, Beautiful specimens of the New Zealanders, Feejeans [sic], Peruvians, Chilenos, Grenadians and panoramic views of the City of Arequipa, Peru etc.(47).

No record of Newland's visit to New Zealand exists and no daguerreotype portraits of Maoris from this date survive in New Zealand or Australia and he does not seem to have sought Aboriginal portraits for his collection.

Boyes sat for Newland on 27 December 1848 and, not surprisingly, was displeased with the result, which he sent to Lady Franklin in England. However, Newland also took whole plate daguerreotypes of Hobart and one of these was a view of Murray Street from his studio window. It is the earliest extant Australian view daguerreotype and the most impressive of the few which have survived.

Newland was a skilful. energetic photographer and a showman. In addition to his trunk of daguerreotypes, he carried an oxyhydrogen microscope and lantern, a chromatrope and a diorama. Newland had previously shown his daguerreotypes and other entertainments in Sydney. He proceeded to India where he established a studio in Calcutta between 1852-1854(48).

Only one Australian portrait by Newland is known (it is a rare example of daguerreotype stamped with the photographer's name) of E.T.Y. McDonald, publican of Svdney(49). A bright and direct image, this portrait has an impact superior to the few examples of any local Australian's work, with the exception of a portrait, by an unknown photographer taken around 1850, of Hobart auctioneer Thomas Y. Lowes.


The regions

Only some ten professional photographers worked in Tasmania in the daguerreotype era before the mid 1850s when photographs on paper took over. Of these the other most notable photographer before 1850 was George Cherry (w.1849-1868). He established a studio in Hobart in 1854 and previously he had taken daguerreotypes on Norfolk Island in 1849 when he was assistant superintendent of convicts(50).

Several amateurs were experimenting with photography in Victoria in the mid 1840s. George Alexander Gilbert (c.1810-1888) was a minor painter and drawing teacher with a bent towards invention inherited from his father. Between 25 November 1845 and 3 February 1846 the Port Phillip Patriot carried advertisements of his intention to start a practice as a portrait photographer. He claimed to have developed an improvement in the process. Gilbert also experimented with the oxyhydrogen microscope, mesmerism and clairvoyance(51).

Goodman had learned from Thomas Bock's similar announcements and was sceptical of Gilbert's aspirations and indeed Gilbert never succeeded with photography professionally. In 1859 he coloured photographs for Richard Daintree and in 1861 exhibited coloured photographs with photographer Thomas Ford.

Gilbert's brother Frank (who was tutor to the children of amateur painter John Cotton, of Doogallook Station on the Goulburn River), was as inventive as his brother and in February 1847 was making daguerreotype portraits with his employer's apparatus, Cotton's correspondence with his brother William, in London, shows a great appreciation of photographic portraits and in 1843 he included comments on Goodman's Melbourne work. By October 1846 John Cotton had received a daguerreotype camera and supplies from London. He had requested a calotype apparatus for taking views so it is possible his interest in photography predated George Goodman's arrival in Melbourne(52).

Cotton also made daguerreotypes in the hope of developing sufficient expertise to supplement his income through photography. He seems to have known Douglas T. Kilburn who set up the first professional studio in Melbourne in 1847. Cotton certainly knew of Kilburn's portraits of the Aboriginals of the Yarra Yarra tribe(53), which were taken in 1847 and used as the basis for illustrations in William Westgarth's book Australia Felix, published in Edinburgh in 1848.

Cotton was not particularly impressed by the illustrations in Westgarth's book, apparently because they made the subjects look too handsome. Nevertheless he conceived a plan to sell daguerreotypes of the Aboriginals in London. He was plagued by supply problems and hoped to fund the necessary plates and chemicals through the sale of bird skins in London. William Cotton discouraged the scheme as he doubted whether portraits of the 'ugly natives of South Australia' would appeal in London(54).

Douglas T. Kilburn, who may have been connected with Messrs Kilburn Importers, had no supply problems because his brother could send out both materials and news of new developments. His Aboriginal portraits had quite a wide circulation, appearing redrawn in the Illustrated London News in 1850(55).

Kilburn does not seem to have continued his Aboriginal portraits for which there was little market in either paintings or photographs. He seems also to have found there was insufficient business in Melbourne for a portrait studio as he moved to Sydney in 1849. Prior to his departure he may have made some landscape views, since later, in 1854, English geologist Alfred Selwyn (1824-1902) exhibited nine daguerreotypes 'By Kilburn' in an exhibition in Melbourne(56).

In Western Australia, Robert Hall was the first photographer to visit the Swan River colony at Perth. He offered a portrait and views service during a whirlwind tour of eight days in 1846. It was some years before Samuel Evans (w.1853) offered a daguerreotype service in Perth in 1853.

As with other centres, photography in Western Australia was certainly established in the 1840s, and by the 1860s there was a solid amateur and professional practice in most settled areas. By 1860 some 100 photographers were at work and another 100 or so had practised for some time since 1841(57).


The calotype pioneers

Talbot's calotype or talbotype process was under patent restrictions for professional use until the early 1850s. It had little appeal to professional portrait studios due to the long exposures involved and the public's preference for the prosaic, even if less flattering, daguerreotype.

Two members of the HMS Rattlesnake surveying expedition of 1846-1850 were familiar with the calotype and used the process within Australia for personal records and possibly for official expedition work(58).

Antoine Claudet in London tried to popularise calotype portraits and German photographer William Hetzer, who arrived in Sydney in 1850, advertised a calotype portrait and views service. Hetzer's fast Voigtlander lens reduced exposures to a manageable half minute. He specialised in paper photography and some of his calotype portraits have survived(59)

Few amateurs had experimented with the daguerreotype in Australia. Obtaining cases alone would have put most photographers off. Despite its cheapness and ease surprisingly few experimented with the calotype process. There appears to have been little appreciation of the calotype process as an artistic medium such as existed overseas.

A photographer made calotype views in South Australia in around 1850, possibly a visiting member of the Edinburgh Calotype Club(60). A calotype portrait of a Port Phillip squatter with an 1839 watermark, also exists in an album belonging to artist A.D. Lang (w.1840-1850s)(61).

In New South Wales, around 1850, Joseph Docker (1802-1884) modified his camera obscura for calotype work. Docker was a surgeon, civil servant and later politician as well as an amateur painter. He was quite resourceful making a whole plate camera of his own and attempting ambitious subjects. The view of a cricket match at his property in Scone is one of the earliest of this subject ever taken(62). He changed to wet plate photography early in the 1850s.

footnotes  |  contents   next chapter   |  search-shades


List of illustrations used in the original publication (captions may be abbreviated):

P.6; William Blackwood: bridge Street and exchange, 1858 (albumen print)

P.7: George Goodman: Caroline Lawson and her son, Thomas. 1845 (dag)

P.10: Thomas Bock: portrait of two boys. c.1850 (daguerreotype)

P.11: J.W.Newland: Murray Street, Hobart. 1848 (daguerreotype)

P.12: unknown: Thomas Y. Lowes. c.1850 (daguerreotype)

P.12: Douglas T. Kilburn: Group of Southeastern Australian Aborigines. 1847 (dag)

P.13: Joseph Docker: Thornwaite from the paddock, Scone. c.1850 (calotype)

P.13: unknown: Banksia, the honeysuckle of coloniosts. SA c.1850 (calotype)

P.14: unknown: A Port Phillip squatter. c.1850 (calotype)

 

 

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