Street photography exhibition shines light on forgotten genre of photography
A new exhibition opening at the Museum of Sydney, Street Photography, will explore the heyday of this once popular but now forgotten genre.
Before the days of Instagram and personal cameras, and quite different to our definition of the genre today, street photographers were a familiar part of central Sydney during the 1930’s to the late 1950’s, inadvertently creating a vast archive of black-and-white, postcard-sized candid images of the city and its people.
At the height of its popularity in the mid 1930’s, over 10,000 people in NSW were buying photos from street photography companies every week.
Following a successful public call-out by Sydney Living Museums, over 1,500 personal images contributed by people far and wide have come to light, giving a glimpse into the everyday life of Sydney and its people during the Depression, WWII and postwar years. 250 of these images, digitised and enlarged, form the basis of a new exhibition, Street Photography, opening at the Museum of Sydney on 8 December.
Presented alongside this extraordinary and largely unseen pictorial record of Sydney is a series of works by artist Anne Zahalka, who has restaged nine of the original images, with descendants and those still living in similar locations where their parents, grandparents or they once stood. The exhibition also includes new images taken at live photographic locations in key places around the city similar to the street photography of the past.
“Armed with small portable cameras and positioned in key places around the city, the photographers caught pedestrians unaware - mid-stride, talking or deep in thought as they went about their day, and the public loved it,” said Anna Cossu, Curator, City Museums Portfolio, Sydney Living Museums.
As street photography companies went out of fashion, very few negatives lasted except for a rare collection which came to light through the public call-out and have now been acquired by Sydney Living Museums.
“Each image is a fleeting momento of a day spent in the city and reveals who we were, the changing fashions and social mores,” continued Anna Cossu.
WHEN: Opening Saturday 8 December 2018
WHERE: Museum of Sydney, cnr Phillip and Bridge Streets
COST: Free with museum entry: Adult: $15, Concession: $8, Family: $30, members and children under 5: FREE
MORE INFO: sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/museum-of-sydney