I had a lovely morning going around the latest exhibition that has just opened. It's a splendid way to spend a rainy day or a very hot day for that matter, looking through this great collection of old photographs of Brisbane which was found in a series of cigar boxes under a house in Red Hill.
The exhibition is called "The view from here" and it is a collection of photographs taken by Arthur Elliott between the years of 1890 to 1940. He was born in the UK but came over to Australia at a young age and made his life in Brisbane. He started taking photographs at the age of 26 and clearly enjoyed it. Over 50 years he took photographs of the city as it grew from a big country town, you see the first cars, the trams in the roads, the way people dressed and how they passed their leisure time.
He reminded me of me. I like going around the city taking photographs. How much easier though is it for us as we snap away and delete if we don't like them. With him the process was more elaborate and he found lovely vantage points, the Windmill on Wickham Terrace, the top floor of a building looking down, a hill overlooking the river, to take his best shots. His favourites were royal events, bridges and panoramic views – well they are now- He took them as a series of photographs which were all carefully put together by the curator of the exhibition to present a fantastic view of Brisbane as it was then. He annotated all his glass plate negatives which meant that there was a lot of valuable information for the exhibition as to the time and place the photographs were taken. The photographs are all the more remarkable for the fact that photography was really quite primitive then but he clearly had a passion for it so it was kept meticulously and stored carefully. How lucky for us all that the collection was found.
Going back in time I find connects me to the place I am living in, especially as I am only a recent resident. So I love exhibitions like these where someone has painstakingly collated this valuable personal collection of photographs of another era and put them on display for us all to share.
The exhibition is on at the Museum of Brisbane, 3rd floor of Brisbane City Hall.