You might have seen the story re the State Library of NSW's recent acquisition of a photo album containing a different version of Max Dupain's well-known 1937 'Sunbaker' photo. That Max disliked the widely published version doesn't strike me as headline cultural news (well done to the State Library's pr people tho).
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Broken Hill in the far west of NSW is not necessarily the first place you would think of as the beginning of bush regeneration. It is known more for its mining than its environmental history. However the earliest green action in Australia was inspired by Albert Morris and the Barrier Field Naturalists Club in Broken Hill.
At the Powerhouse Museum we are fortunate to have a great photographic collection including glass plate negatives from the late 19th and early 20th century in the Tyrell collection. They form a fairly solid base of our historic photography collections and provide the odd bit of excitement when we discover hitherto unknown works within them, like the 400 World War One soldier images recently uncovered.
Selfies are rampant today. We can see the phenomenon as harmless fun, as creative self-expression, or perhaps as a threat to civilisation, drowning us in egocentric banality. But of course people have long indulged in self-portraiture, and today I want to focus on an unusual pair of selfies that reveal one man in contrasting settings, telling us two stories about himself.
Once I feel myself observed by the lens, everything changes: I constitute myself in the process of ‘posing’, I instantaneously make another body for myself, I transform myself in advance into an image.
Would you have guessed the mystery object on display in the Museum’s marquee at Steamfest this year? Visitors to this event held in Maitland over the weekend of 13-14 April were encouraged to have a go.
Most people don't have the patience to attempt what our recent intern, Amir Mogadam from the Universtiy of Newcastle has just finished – probably one of the most challenging jigsaws you’re ever likely to see.
The careers of architects and photographers are often intertwined. An outstanding case is Max Dupain, Australia’s leading photographer of architecture, whose work was crucial in building the reputations of several architects including Harry Seidler, Sydney Ancher and Glenn Murcutt.
This camera, a Sony Mavica FD-91 is a remarkable display object, as testified by more than a decade on display in our Cyberworlds gallery. Not only was it purchased and purposefully dismantled (or exploded) to display the mechanism and electronic engineering of the camera, but it stands as a crossover piece between things that are built from materials (plastics, metals, electronics) and things that are birthed from objects like it; things that are ‘born digital.’ It was collected and remains an important teaching tool for a range of age groups.
A couple of years back I was contacted by a photographer named Alex Mattea. From 1987 to 1989 Alex photographed every building and every street in the Sydney CBD. He wanted to show me the results.
The Powerhouse Museum’s Style 20 Fotoplayer is a wonderful instrument on display in the Kings Cinema within the Museum. It was made to provide music and sound effects to accompany silent movies and is an upright player piano, with an effects box.
In late August 1922 a group of astronomers, naval men, and Aboriginal stockmen began the arduous task of unloading their complicated scientific equipment and stores from boats onto a deserted beach on the coast of Western Australia.