Posts categorized as Photography

Caring for our photographic negatives

  • Cellulose acetate film was used for negatives from the 1920s.  It tends to break down to acetic acid, causing the film to shrink.  This makes the binder layer form channels and spots, and the image becomes difficult to read.
  • Steve McStay and Paul Simpson sliding an empty drawer into the plan chest unit.
  • Steve McStay and Paul Simpson sliding an empty plan drawer into the unit.
  • An acetate negative with 'vinegar syndrome'

We have an enormous collection of photographic negatives and transparencies on glass and film, going back to the 1870s. They include all sorts of images from studio portraits to holiday snaps, landscapes, photographs of sports teams, and artists’ negatives and transparencies. Many negatives are chemically unstable and, if left in an uncontrolled environment, will deteriorate to… Read more »

Object unknown

Perhaps you know where some of the photographs below were taken and what they are of?  If you can help, please note the number related to each image with your comment below. 1) What building is this Burton Brothers stereoscopic image taken from and where is it?  2) Is it Lake Wakatipu?  Where exactly is… Read more »

Brian Brake: Lens on the world opens at the Tauranga Art Gallery

Te Papa’s touring exhibition Brian Brake: Lens on the world opens on the 1st June at the Tauranga Art Gallery, the exhibition runs until the 15th September 2012 . The exhibition features more than 170 superb photographic reproductions from Te Papa’s permanent art collection, and is the first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of this notable Magnum… Read more »

Recalling the splendour of Samoan oratory: Lauaki Namulau’ulu Mamoe

To celebrate le vaiaso o le gagana Sämoa (Sämoan language week) the Pacific Cultures curators are highlighting stories related to cultural treasures from Sämoa. This image of Lauaki Namulau’ulu Mamoe (b. 1850s? – d. 1915) taken by photographer Thomas Andrew is dated 1909. This was the same year Lauaki was exiled to Saipan, in the Northern… Read more »

The Berry Boys – Photos featuring New Zealand World War One Soldiers

Te Papa has a wonderful collection of 172 portraits on glass plate negatives featuring World War One soldiers. These images were taken at the Berry & Co. photography studio in Wellington between about 1914 and 1919. The men in these images were about to enter into a life-changing event. Some would survive, a large number would… Read more »

Nodding cat

Sometimes there is little information about some of the photographs in the collection. I love this image. It was taken in the 1930s by Marion Kirker (1879-1971). Yet I wonder: who is the man? Is it his cat? Why photograph them? What is the cat looking at? The man seems to be holding onto the… Read more »

Out of all Proportion: Gavin Hipkins in ‘Collecting Contemporary’

The shaman

When I first saw Gavin Hipkin’s The shaman (blue), currently on display in Collecting Contemporary on Level 5, it was as a digital image emailed by his dealer. I was struck by the ambiguity of the photograph. The stunning, pale blue background is almost featureless, and like the blue or green-screen used to create special… Read more »

W F Gordon’s Taranaki land war photographs

Early last century, New Plymouth man William Gordon assembled a photographic record of people (both Māori and European) who served in the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s. The Dominion Museum (Te Papa’s second predecessor) purchased the photographs in 1916 as part of the Gordon Collection. Recently, I have been working on improving the documentation… Read more »