Museum of Brisbane

Sit. Pose. Snap. Brisbane Portrait Photography 1850 – 1950

  • 24 Mar - 30 Jul 2017
  • Exhibition now closed

Long before smartphones and selfies, people visited a studio portrait photographer to capture an image of themselves they wanted to share with the world.

Sit. Pose. Snap. Brisbane Portrait Photography 1850 – 1950

Sit. Pose. Snap. Brisbane Portrait Photography 1850 – 1950 explores the phenomenon of studio portrait photography in Brisbane, and shows how the process of capturing and sharing a portrait evolved from the formal studio sittings of the 19th century through to candid and relaxed photographs of the mid-20th century.

With the introduction of commercial photography in the mid 1850s, dozens of photographic studios popped up in and around Brisbane capitalising on this popular new technology. Interest in this novel sensation was high, and profitable – with photographers increasingly savvy when it came to selling their service and products.

Featuring hundreds of Brisbane residents captured in original photographs from local studios between 1850 -1950, this exhibition draws from the extensive private collection of Marcel Safier – one of Australia’s most significant collectors of portrait photography. Discover the variety, trends and historical progression of photographic types through this period, from the early forms of daguerreotypes through to carte-de-visites and postcards.

From personal portraits capturing life’s most significant milestones, to the curious and often humorous ways in which people presented themselves, Sit. Pose. Snap.  is a charming and nostalgic glimpse into a 19th century photographic studio.




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