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Australia's oldest photo



Product Description

This tiny image of doctor and politician William Bland was taken by George Barron Goodman sometime between December 1844 and January 1845. It is the oldest photo taken in Australia to have survived to the present day. Goodman arrived in Sydney in 1842, after purchasing a licence from English entrepreneur and photographer Richard Beard, which gave him sole rights to use the daguerreotype process in the British colonies. The daguerreotype was the first commercially viable photographic process. Images were created by first sensitising a silver plate with iodine fumes, and after exposure in a camera the image was developed over heated mercury vapour, at great risk to the health of the photographer. Finally, it was stabilised (or fixed) with salt water or 'hypo' (sodium thiosulphate). This photo, although small in size, retains a high level of detail.

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