Posts tagged with photography

A slice of Wellington life: the Berry & Co collection

  • Photographing a Berry & Co glass plate negative.  We use a Phase I P40 camera and Schneider 110 lens, used with extension tube, with a 40MB back.  This gives us a 38MB digital image, which is our ‘access master’ size.  Photograph Michael Hall, copyright Te Papa.
  • One of the transport chilly bins.  The negatives are stored in archival paper sleeves, to protect the surface of the image.  Photograph Anita Hogan, copyright Te Papa.
  • One of the transport chilly bins.  The negatives are stored in archival paper sleeves, to protect the surface of the image.  Photograph Anita Hogan, copyright Te Papa.
  • Negatives can be difficult to ‘read’, so creating a positive digital image makes it easier for us to improve our catalogue data, for example by using clothing details to estimate the date the photograph was taken.

Te Papa has a collection of nearly 4,000 glass plate and film negatives taken by the Wellington photography studio Berry & Co.  The studio was founded by William Berry in 1897, and operated in Cuba St until 1931.  The negatives are mainly portraits – of families, children, men and women, soldiers in uniform, the occasional… Read more »

Do you know this building?

 Te Papa has an enormous collection of photographs, negatives and transparencies by Brian Brake (1927 – 88), one of New Zealand’s best known photographers.  Brake became famous while working overseas as a photojournalist – one of his best known works is the Monsoon photo essay, which he took in 1960.  He also photographed extensively in… Read more »

Queen Sälote of Tonga (1900–65) composer and poet

This is rare fragment of tapa commemorates the war effort of Queen Salote and the Tongan people who raised money for the British to buy Spitfire airplanes during the Second World War (1939-1945). The aircraft depicted was the first of 3 Spitfires donated to the British war effort by the Queen and people of Tonga.  A total of 15,000 pounds was raised in Tonga for this purpose, the aircraft depicted on the tapa was the result of the first payment of 5,000 pounds in April 1941.

 This week is Tongan Language Week – Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga. This is the third blog post where the Pacific Cultures team highlight collection items that relate to Tongan language and culture.  In Tongan Language week it is difficult to look past the contributions of Tonga’s Queen Sälote (1900–65) to the preservation and creative… Read more »

Islands style – Cook Islands (circa 1914)

This is the fourth blog where we highlight items from the collections as part of Cook Islands language week (6-10 August 2012). I have selected a small number of portraits by George Crummer who had a photography business in Rarotonga, Cook Islands from 1890.   Te Papa has an album and 227 (now badly deteriorated) negatives taken… Read more »

The Berry Boys – another story from the photos featuring World War 1 soldiers

Medical Report for John Owen Clay. New Zealand Defence Force, Personnel Records. Archives New Zealand.

One of the amazing things about researching the Berry and Co portraits is that with each identification comes new insight into World War 1. The stories behind the people and their experiences make what happened during the war more real and personal. One image in particular pulled at my heart-strings this month, that of John… Read more »

Fieldwork in the Subantarctic Islands, a hundred years ago

I’ve been enjoying our scientist’s fieldwork posts.  We have scientist’s photographs from several historic field trips in the photography collection.  My favourites are in this photo album from the 1907 Expedition to the Subantarctic Islands.  The Expedition was initiated by the Canterbury Philosophical Institute with support from the Government, and studied plants, animals, soils and marine life on the Auckland… Read more »

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 »

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 »