Exhibition themes
The works in the exhibition are gathered into themes.
Click a theme title to your right to view them.

The art of photography
ethnographic projects

In the late nineteenth century, ambitious ethnographic photography projects were undertaken. A number were published using new photomechanical reproduction technologies to decrease costs and increase distribution.

German born immigrant photographer J W Lindt took a series of portraits of Australian Indigenous people in Grafton, New South Wales in 1873, which he effectively marketed for decades worldwide as original albumen silver prints. German ethnographer Adolf Meyer produced three extensive photographic portfolios of photogravures of peoples in New Guinea, the Philippines and the Celebes in the 1880s and early 1900s, making use of ‘native types’ tableaus purchased from local studios as well as images he made in the field. In 1884 Indonesian photographer Kassian Céphas was commissioned to record court dance performances in Jogyakarta, which were published in a portfolio of collotypes.

Lindt’s book Picturesque New Guinea, published in 1887, was very successful, reaching a larger audience than the volumes of John Thomson’s China in the 1870s. He made use of the new fine-quality carbon autotype photomechanical process for the illustrations and for the large murals he sent to exhibitions.