Friday, January 13, 2017

Play the 20th Century Modernist Detective

PH40/1/3169 Tasmanian Archives Heritage Office Collection

Recently I was contacted by the Tasmanian Archive & Heritage Office (TAHO) regarding the identification of a photograph that they have and where the location may be. It was great to be contacted by TAHO as my experience and knowledge of Tasmanian architecture and design, especially from the 20th Century has grown as I continue to undertake the project of documenting the period.

As soon as I saw the photograph I knew where it was.  The photograph had a note on it saying "Prospect?" as the location, a suburb of Launceston.  The building is indeed located in Launceston, but in the suburb of St Leonard's.  It is now Mount Esk Southern Cross Care, having been originally designed in the 1950s.

What interests me as a photographer is how photographs, through the passage of time, can be "lost" in time. This photograph was probably only taken around 60 years ago.  Yet, back in the 1950s this area of Launceston was rural, it is only in recent times that suburbia has crept up on the once rural farmland.

One of reasons I make photographs and love photography is that they provide a visual marker to show how places change over time. I have photographs from buildings, streets and sites in Tasmania that I've been documenting that have changed dramatically over such a short period of time, that to look at places today where buildings once stood, one would hardly recognise the same view.  And this isn't even 50 years ago, in some cases just a few years ago.

TAHO holds a massive wealth of photographs from Tasmania's built environment, the "everyday" moments of our past are captured in an image forever.  Viewing photographic archives help me to gain a sense of history, and know how a place/building has changed over time and how it fits in with the present and in doing so helps me find a sense of place.

I guess the email request got me thinking a lot about my own archives and how the need to have a robust system of cataloguing is so very important!

1 comment:

  1. what a fantastic photo and a great piece of detective work!


About the project

Join me (Thomas Ryan Photography) on a photographic project documenting Tasmanian 20th Century Modernism from the 1930's to the 1980's. The entire project gallery of 1000+ images and counting can be viewed on my website under art projects. I have been undertaking this project for over a decade.

My portfolio of commercial and art projects can be seen on my website and I can be contacted here as well. All photographs are copyright of Thomas Ryan Photography. Unauthorised use is prohibited. Contact me for all enquires

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