Gadgets & Gizmos

Capturing Nature – Early Scientific Photography At The Australian Museum 1857-1893 might sound a bit historical to a modern photography world, but flipping through this book’s pages, we were surprised by just how many competition winning images over the past 20 years appear to have been inspired by this type of work.

Originally utilitarian in purpose, like many other genres of photography, time has a tendency of turning record photography into something more; sometimes art, sometimes simply inspiration for other work. So even though we were only mildly interested in the history of photography at the Australian Museum, we were very impressed by not only the photographs, but their style and technique. And yes, it’s given us ideas!

As author Vanessa Finney explains, the photographs of Gerard Krefft and Henry Barnes back in the late 19th century, which feature in the book, were ground-breaking, purely from a technical perspective as new techniques and processes needed to be developed to record in minute detail the Australian Museum’s many specimens.

A photograph of a flower would be simple enough, but the giant flipper of a whale (let alone the whale itself ) was quite another matter.

So, as you flip through the pages of this book, you can see how their practical solutions have pioneered and possibly inspired the work of many other photographers over the decades, from advertising to fashion, documentary to art.

And it’s fascinating to read how the photographers tackled new projects and assignments, especially when you reflect on the limited technology available to them. Certainly makes our lives as digital photographers seem incredibly easy!

The book accompanies a free exhibition of photographs by the same name and it is on display until 21 July, 2019. Head to 1 William Street in Sydney, opposite Hyde Park.

The book has a RRP of $49.99 and can be purchased directly from the Museum. You can see more about the exhibition on its website, but to purchase the book, you’ll have to use email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

S5 Box


Did you know we have 2 websites? This login is for newsletters, workshops and book orders. To see your online subscriptions, log in at:

If you're having trouble logging in, you might be on the wrong site! To see your subscriptions, log in at:

S5 Register