Sunday, August 10, 2008

National Gallery of Australia: Picture Paradise - Asia–Pacific photography 1840s–1940s

Douglas T. Kilburn
South-east Australian Aboriginal man and two younger companions

Daguerreotype, quarter plate
8.2 x 10.8 cm

National Gallery of Australia

The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra has been expanding its collection of photography of South East Asia and the Pacific and is currently showing (July 11 - November 9, 2008) an exhibition of over 400 photographs from its own holdings and those of public and private collections. Some of these photographers, and the images they created, will be known to photo-historians but to many of us there are novelties to marvel at. An 1847 quarter plate Daguerreotype by Douglas T. Kilburn of "South-east Australian Aboriginal man and two younger companions" or the whole plate by Hugo Stangenwald "The Hawaiian royal family, Kamehameha " taken in about 1853 and in the collection of the Bishop Museum, Honolulu. An online exhibition has been added to Luminous-Lint on this exhibition.

An introduction has been kindly provided by Gael Newton, Senior Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Australia and curator of the real world exhibition. The introduction reveals the diverse relationships between the royal courts of the region and the first photographers. The overall exhibition is a highly significant and well researched examination of a region that is frequently given cursory paragraphs in the more general histories of photography. The catalog of this exhibition will be a considerable contribution to photo-history and I will certainly be buying a copy.

For additional essays and background material visit the Picture Paradise website.

I'd like to thank Gael Newton at the National Gallery of Australia for her enthusiastic assistance and David Knaus for permission to include photographs from his collection.

There is an online exhibition of this important exhibition on Luminous-Lint.

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