Capturing nature reveals Australia’s first scientific photograph


: A new exhibition, ‘Capturing Nature: Early Photographs at the Australian Museum 1857 -1893’ opens November 16 at the CDU Art Gallery. Pictured: CDU Art Gallery Curator Dr. Joanna Barrkman.

The earliest Australian scientific photographs on display at the CDU Art Gallery reveal the scientific discoveries of Australian Museum scientists between the 1850s and 1990s.

A new exhibition, “Capturing Nature: Early Photographs at the Australian Museum 1857 -1893”, opens November 16 and features 67 large-format photographic prints from the museum’s extensive glass plate negative archival collection. ‘Australian Museum.

These prints recount the advent of photography in the young colony, less than 10 years after the birth of photography in Europe.

The subjects depicted vary from a large sunfish, the fin of a sperm whale, to a gorilla, and the fragile bones of a flamingo.

Most of the specimens photographed at the museum were photographed by taxidermist Henry Barnes and his son Henry Barnes Jnr with the assistance of pioneer Australian Museum curator Gerard Krefft.

CDU Art Gallery curator Dr. Joanna Barrkman said visitors to the exhibition can view the 67 rich prints along with a video that explains the technique of glass plate photography.

“Collectively, these works highlight the legacy of this photographic medium, demonstrating the importance of glass plate photography as a viable and popular art, as well as a recorder of history and science,” Dr. Barrkman said.

“The images range from the earliest attempts at experimentation in the 1850s to when photography was becoming an indispensable part of museum practice in the early 1890s.”

Australian Museum Director and CEO Kim McKay AO said some of the earliest users of photography were scientists who quickly saw its potential for capturing the process of discovery and describing new species.

“In Victorian times, museums were the public face of science. At the Australian Museum, the arrival of curator and scientist Gerard Krefft in 1864 marked a chance meeting of skills, experience and technology,” said Ms McKay.

“The images of Gerard Krefft and his taxidermist, Henry Barnes, not only produced material for the Museum, but also helped them share the Museum’s work around the world. Their early images showcase the creativity, innovation and experimentation that were and still are part of the Australian Museum’s DNA.

Beautiful, haunting and sometimes eerie, Capturing the Wild is not only a unique testament to the beginnings of Australian science, it also brings to life the story of one of mankind’s greatest inventions.

Capturing Nature will be on display at the CDU Art Gallery from November 17 to April 1, 2023 and will be opened by Dr. Kirsten Abbott, Northern Territory Science, Museum and Art Gallery Manager on November 16 at 6 p.m.

The CDU Art Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the CDU’s Casuarina Campus.

Source link