Item #CL191-169 [Sydney Harbour]. Melvin Vaniman, American.
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[Sydney Harbour]

c1904. Vintage platinum photograph, panorama, annotated “registered” and signed in negative lower right, 37.6 x 117.8cm. Stains, soiling and minor surface loss to upper portion, repaired tears and missing portions to edges. Laid down on acid-free backing.

This is believed to be the first aerial photograph taken in Australia. It seems to be the only documented panorama of Sydney taken by Vaniman from a specially-designed hot air balloon he imported from America. The balloon was stationed over Bay Road, North Sydney (now Waverton), most likely on the 27th of March 1904; the photograph had to be taken on a Sunday to avoid smoke from factories. It shows Sydney Harbour from North Head to beyond Iron Cove Bridge. The image is a contact print produced from a single large-format negative from a circuit camera Vaniman constructed himself.

Vaniman had intended that his panoramas be exhibited in public buildings as massive enlargements, but today they survive as extremely detailed platinum contact prints. Ref: Tierney, Melvin Vaniman: A biographical note, 2000, pp.18-22; “Vaniman Panorama” exhibition catalogue, 2010, SLNSW.

Item #CL191-169

Price (AUD): $8,800.00  other currencies

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