Contributions to the 5th AICCM Book, Paper and Photographic Materials Symposium. Editors: Prue McKay and Alana Treasure. Canberra, ACT: AICCM (Inc.), 2008.
The Picture Paradise: Asia-Pacific Photography 1840s-1940s exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) coincides with the National Photography Festival in Canberra, July to November 2008. The exhibition chronicles developments in photography from India and Sri Lanka through Southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific to the west coast of North America. It is the first broadly comparative survey of the history of photography in the Asia-Pacific region, from the formative decades of the 1840s to the 1860s, to the early 1940s and the advent of World War II. It includes photographs related to travel and landscape, together with images charting the rich cultural diversity of the Asia-Pacific region. It covers a succession of unique photographic genres and processes which flourished during the period: early, jewel-like daguerreotype portraits; light sensitive, delicate salted paper negatives and prints; extravagant, exotic travel albums; and enormous, fragile, panoramic landscapes. Such diversity was made possible by a burgeoning photographic industry and the rapid developments in materials and technology. This presentation will outline the challenges these varied formats created for NGA Conservation staff and discuss how close collaboration between the Curator, Exhibition Designers and Conservators was vital for devising appropriate supports, showcases and lighting, and providing optimum display conditions for the wide range of photographic