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Title : Actors Actors View More Images
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Source : B 46371
Place Of Creation : South Australia
Date of creation : ca.1850
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 135 x 185 mm (image); 180 x 230 x 25 mm (case)
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

Daguerreotype of a group of actors seated at a table, possibly created by GB Goodman. The actors appear as though they are on a break from rehearsal. The image is a rare one associated with dramatic performance in Adelaide in the early days of the colony.

In January 1846, travelling daguerreotype photographer, GB Goodman took up a 40 day residency at the rear of Adelaide auctioneer, Emanuel Solomon's home. Here he created 50 daguerreotype images for Adelaide patrons (Register 21 January 1846). At this time, it had become increasingly common to set up temporary studios at the rear of a building.

According to Jane Messenger in A century in focus: South Australian photography, 1840s-1940s, this daguerreotype differs from others of the period due to its informal nature and the way it flaunts contemporary social and pictorial conventions. Portraits of multiple figues were unusual at the time and usually reserved for family groups. This was due to technical complications related to focal distance, plate sizes and exposure times. Messenger suggests that this image is largely experimental in its composition, and is designed to reveal the phototographer's sophisticated image creation skills. (p.30)

A daguerreotype is an early type of photograph in which the image is exposed directly onto a mirror-polished surface of silver-plated copper. Unlike later photographic processes that replaced it, the daguerreotype is a direct positive image-making process without an original 'negative'.

This daguerreotype has been finished handsomely in a special case. The frame is most likely made from gutta-percha, which was one of the first plastic materials, made from a mixture of resins from Malaysian trees. It was molded and used for daguerreotype cases, toiletry articles, and picture frames in the nineteenth century. Photographers were known to have provided these types of frames as part of the purchase price of the image.

Related names :

Goodman, G.B.

Coverage year : 1850
Period : 1836-1851
Place : Adelaide, South Australia
Region : Adelaide city
Further reading :

Barger, M. Susan. The daguerreotype: nineteenth-century technology and modern science / M. Susan Barger and William B. White. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, c1991

Cato, Jack The story of the camera in Australia Melbourne: Georgian House, 1955

Noye, Robert J. (Robert James) Welcome to Photohistory SA [electronic resource]: a web site dedicated to the history of South Australian photography from 1845 to around 1915 [S.Aust.]: R.J. Noye, c1998

Frizot, Michel A new history of photography Koln: Konemann, c1998

Richter, Stefan The art of the daguerreotype London: Viking, 1989

Robinson, J. A century in focus: South Australian photography, 1840s-1940s Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia, 2007, pp.30-31

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