Photo of the Day

photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum

The artist

September 15th, 2014 by

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Painting was by no means an all male activity. There were many women artists.

Hedda Morrison, A Photographer in Old Peking, Oxford University Press, 1985, p. 175

This portrait of an unidentified female artist by Hedda Morrison was taken in China in the 1930s. The the image is so carefully composed, and the graphic qualities so dominant  that the woman at first appears to be part of her painting rather than separate from it. Her direct gaze comes almost as a shock. The pot of brushes in the foreground leaves no doubt about the woman’s profession. The woman wears a qipao, by the 1920s and early 1930s, the major urban women’s fashion garment, eclipsing all other styles of dress. Under the influence of Western fashion, the traditional garment became more tailored to reveal the body and came to represent modernity in Chinese dress.

Hedda Morrison, (1908-1991), was born Hedda Hammer in Stuttgart, Germany. She acquired her first camera, a Box Brownie, at the age of 11. In 1931, after completing studies at the State Institute for Photography in Munich and working in the studio of photographer Adolf Lazi (1884-1955), she answered an advertisement in a photography journal for a job in Peking. In Peking Morrison managed Hartung’s photographic studio from 1933-1938. After her contract expired she continued to work freelance from a small darkroom in her home in Nanchang Street. The young photographer travelled around the city, usually by bicycle, often photographing its inhabitants. This photograph is part of the Hedda Morrison Photographic Collection.   Other images from the same collection have also been posted on Photo of the Day.

Photography by Hedda Morrison No known copyright restrictions.

ref: Evolution & revolution: Chinese dress 1700s-1900s, Powerhouse Publishing, 1997


In the basement

September 12th, 2014 by

2020 Vision photography styling. Objects in basement Tin toy

This cheerful group of toys was photographed in the Museum’s basement storage area. Even when they are labelled and arranged neatly on a shelf they retain some sense of their maker’s intention.  Each was designed to move in a particular way. The key in the monkey’s stomach activates a clockwork motor that makes his arms move and the cymbals clash together. He is one of three cymbal-playing monkeys in the same collection. Bobo the magician and the happy walking clown were also designed to move. They have clockwork motors too, Bobo’s with three movements and the happy walking clown’s, two.

The photographer has used a shallow depth of field to soften the background and bring the very expressive faces of the three toys into sharp focus, making it seem as they they could, just like Copelia, suddenly spring to life.

Photography by Marinco Kojdanovski © All rights reserved


Inside Studio 10, Nickson Street, Sydney 1982

September 11th, 2014 by

96.44/1-3/94 NEG 7

This photograph from the David Mist Archive collection is an interesting example of a photographer’s view of another photographer at work. This photograph is one of a set that documents Colin Stead in action in the Nickson Street studio photographing a model for a Honda advertisement. David has pulled right back from the glossy set to expose the gritty details of the studio: coffee cups a on the table,  lighting arrangements and onlookers.

 

Photography by David Mist

© All rights reserved


Motor cycle with passenger seat in front

September 10th, 2014 by

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Almost, but not quite a motor car, the tandem motorised quadracycle in the photograph above is similar in design to the vehicles produced by the French company,  Dion Bouton in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

According to Wikipedia, the earliest recorded pedal-powered quadracycle was was exhibited in 1853 at the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations World’s Fair held in New York City, around the same time that two-wheeled bicycles were becoming popular. Quadracycles were one solution to the problem of low-speed stability in early cycles and were typically multi-seat models. Both tandem (in line) and sociable (side-by-side) seating configurations were used.

See more cars in Auto Obsession, part of our Re-Collect project to ensure greater public access to the Museum’s rich collection. Featuring over 25 restored and original historic cars, Auto Obsession comprises a curious, eclectic and fascinating collection from luxury tourers and family sedans to racing and sports cars.

Photography by unattributed studio, Tyrrell collection 85/1286-2512 No known copyright restrictions


Warwick Farm, 1963

September 9th, 2014 by

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This photograph of a driver in open wheeler waiting for his turn to get a lap time for grid position was taken by David Mist at Warwick Farm during the Australian Grand Prix 1963.  David used a Hasselblad 500c, (c for  ‘classic’) and Ilford HP3 6×6  film.

According to our collection records, Australia hosted the Grand Prix in 1963, 1967, 1970 and 1971. As a motor racing facility the Warwick Farm Raceway in western Sydney (in operation from 1960 to 1973) was the main venue. Warwick Farm hosted numerous major events during the 1960s and early 1970s, including the Australian Grand Prix, rounds of the Australian Touring Car Championships and the Tasman Series.

See more racing cars in Auto Obsession, part of our Re-Collect project to ensure greater public access to the Museum’s rich collection. Featuring over 25 restored and original historic cars, Auto Obsession comprises a curious, eclectic and fascinating collection from luxury tourers and family sedans to racing and sports cars.

Photography and digitisation by David Mist

© All rights reserved

 


‘Eiffel Tower’ table top telephone

September 8th, 2014 by

Eiffel Tower Telephone

This Eiffel Tower table top telephone is now on display in our Interface exhibition that looks at how design has been applied to information technology products; and how a handful of companies made complicated technology appealing and easy to use.

This was one of the first telephones to incorporate microphone and receiver elements into a single handset and one of the first free-standing telephones designed for a table top. Prior to this nearly all telephones were wall mounted.

A wall-mounted telephone was a convenient solution to concealing the circuit lines, which were safely contained in the wall cavity. However, it required the user to stand by the wall and speak into a fixed microphone while holding a receiver to their ear. The ability to sit down at a desk to take or make a call must have appealed to many established and new telephone users.

This telephone, known as the ‘Eiffel Tower’, presents a unique design with all the elements of the phone visible. The magneto (electrical generator that provided the ringing current), bells, wiring and handset are all mounted off the forged iron frame. It was popular and remained in production from 1892-1929, with sales of a million units over that period. The design was copied by several manufacturers.

Photography by Marinco Kojdanovski

© All rights reserved


Apple I

September 5th, 2014 by

Apple I

 

Steve Wozniak (1950 -), a computer hobbyist, was dabbling in computer design from high school. While working for Hewlett-Packard in the mid-1970s he built himself a computer using the new MOS technology 8-bit 6502 microprocessor and an old design for a video terminal for mainframe remote access.

In an environment dominated by computer kits with cumbersome input and output devices, Wozniak’s computer represented a significant step towards a marketable personal computer. The design for what would become the Apple I employed an elegant economy of component architecture to perform the tasks of processing, generating video output and refreshing memory simultaneously, and it was easily connected to a keyboard. These differences made his computer simpler to use and cheaper to produce and sell than other kits available at the time.

Wozniak was showing off his design at a Homebrew computer club meeting in California and handing out schematics to people interested in building one when he ran into Steve Jobs (1955 - 2011), who suggested they sell it and within weeks he had an order for 100 kits from a local computer parts shop4. The production run for the Apple I was approximately 200. There are about 50 surviving examples in public and private collections worldwide. This is one of them.

You can see the Apple I in our Interface exhibition which is on now.

Photography by Marinco Kojdanovski

© All rights reserved


Warwick Farm, 1967

September 3rd, 2014 by

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This photograph from the David Mist archive collection captures all the excitement of the Warwick Farm racetrack in 1967. It is one of a collection images recently digitised by David for the museum. David shot this portrait of driver Greg Cusack, who was driving for the Scuderia Veloce team, with a Hasselblad 500c, (c for  ‘classic’) camera using KODAK TRI X film.

According to our collection records, Australia hosted the Grand Prix in 1963, 1967, 1970 and 1971. As a motor racing facility the Warwick Farm Raceway in western Sydney (in operation from 1960 to 1973) was the main venue. Warwick Farm hosted numerous major events during the 1960s and early 1970s, including the Australian Grand Prix, rounds of the Australian Touring Car Championships and the Tasman Series.

See more racing cars in Auto Obsession, part of our Re-Collect project to ensure greater public access to the Museum’s rich collection. Featuring over 25 restored and original historic cars, Auto Obsession comprises a curious, eclectic and fascinating collection from luxury tourers and family sedans to racing and sports cars.

Photography and digitisation by David Mist

© All rights reserved


Red and racing

September 2nd, 2014 by

Copy of IS-6278-0082

Auto Obsession, part of our Re-Collect project to ensure greater public access to the Museum’s rich collection. Featuring over 25 restored and original historic cars, Auto Obsession comprises a curious, eclectic and fascinating collection from luxury tourers and family sedans to racing and sports cars.

Photography by Sotha Bourn

All rights reserved


The Valentine

September 1st, 2014 by

Typewriter Interface

Designer Ettore Sottsass took a simple machine, the portable typewriter, and encased it in bright red plastic to create the Valentine. Previous designers for Olivetti had produced revolutionary forms that helped demolish popular prejudices about office equipment, in turn promoting these machines for wider use and consumption. Sottsass took the process one step further and transformed a useful object into a lifestyle accessory.

In the 1960s Sottsass became disillusioned with the role of the designer in supporting consumer products. He was involved in the neo-avant-garde, a radical period in Italian design thinking, including one group called Superarchitettura, which sought to apply mass production to pop art. From this Sottsass extracted an ‘anti-banalising’ treatment for the typewriter.

This object is now on display in our Interface exhibition.

Photography by Marinco Kojdanovski

© All rights reserved


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