Photography

19th century

Memories on glass: extraordinary images of late 19th and early 20th century Sydney

In the days before digital and film photography, images were often taken on glass. But from the 1880s, development of ready-to-use 'dry plate' negatives and simpler cameras saw the rise of amateur photography.

The Holtermann Collection: photographic documentation of goldfields life in Australia

In 1951, a hoard of 3,500 glass plate negatives from the nineteenth century was discovered in a garden shed in Chatswood.

Shutterbug Jitterbug Bondi Visionary

The photographs of George Caddy are an astonishing modernist record of Bondi Beach and its people during a remarkable era. 

Reconstructing the Holtermann: the world's largest collodion glass-plate negatives

What do you do when one of the world’s largest wet-plate glass negatives, weighing over 30 kilos, smashes into hundreds of pieces?

Contact prints

Portrait of Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung people from the 1870s show how photography shaped race relationships in the nineteenth century. 

Members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are advised that this story contains names and images of deceased people.

Crowd source: 1880s Sydney through a hidden camera

These “hidden camera” photos of Sydney street life from the 1880s instantly transport us back in time.

Shakespeare - his birthplace, home and grave

In 1864 the Reverend John M. Jephson published his book on the birthplace, home, and grave of Shakespeare. Nestled within the pages of text are a series of photographs of sites relating to Shakespeare’s life in Stratford-on-Avon.

Henry Beaufoy Merlin: Australian showman and photographer

In 1951 one of Australia’s most significant collections of nineteenth-century photographs was found in a garden shed in Chatswood, Sydney.

20th century

From protest to party

The year 2018 marks the 40th anniversary since the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which started as a gay rights protest parade.

Henry C. Marshall, 1890-1915

Henry Marshall was working in the Grace Brothers photographic studio in Sydney when war was declared. 

Harry Seidler collection

Designs and photographs from Australia's best known modernist architect.

3rd Australian General Hospital

Albert William Savage was a professional photographer from Moore Park in Sydney. 

Under the sun: 15 artists respond to Dupain's Sunbaker

Max Dupain’s Sunbaker has inspired an exhibition of contemporary and thought-provoking artworks. 

The 1954 Royal Tour of Queen Elizabeth II

When this 27 year old sailed into Sydney harbour on 3 February 1954, she practically stopped the nation. 

Antarcticans and the war

Adventure, patriotism, or the call of friendship: many people who had experience in Antarctic exploration volunteered to serve in the World War I.

The Bridge: the arch that cut the sky

The journey to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge would take almost 100 years. In this 5-part series, travel through history to experience the story of realising a city’s dream. 

Colour in darkness: hand-coloured photographs from World War I

In the early 1920s, an exhibition of war photographs toured Australia, attracting crowds and enthusiastic reviews. Many of the photographs had been taken by Australian servicemen and were enlarged and coloured at Colarts Studios.

Frank Hurley's WWI photography

Hurley's photographs of the western front in 1917 and the Middle East in 1918 are arresting and iconic.

Shooting the war: Australia's first Oscar

'There'll be so much to be done when this is all finished…So many big subjects to be covered where the right kind of film will be useful.' Damien Parer (1943)

Photography - Sydney exposed

Photography - Sydney exposed takes the first step in providing an online gateway to thousands of images highlighting the history and changing nature of Sydney, Australia's first and largest metropolis.

21st century

Flash mob

Photographs from the Deadly Awards by Jamie James.

Family Keeps Us Going

Portraits and Stories of Families of Aboriginal Nations Living in South-West Sydney by Jagath Dheerasekara.

Michael Riley's A Common Place: Portraits of Moree Murries

A Common Place displays 15 dramatic portraits of Moree Murries taken by Michael Riley, one of Australia’s leading Indigenous contemporary artists.

Celebration: Jewish community photographs

The images from this collection take us into the lives of a Sydney community, revealing its religious and community events.

The modern garden

Outstanding gardens are revealed by leading photographers in a new exhibition.

ANZAC Day captured in 2015

One hundred years after troops landed at Gallipoli, the Library commissioned five professional photographers to document how the people of New South Wales spent 25 April, 2015.