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Object: Ballarat Street, Queenstown, NZ, flooded 1878

This image has No Known Copyright Restrictions.

Title Ballarat Street, Queenstown, NZ, flooded 1878
Production Hart, William (photographer), 1878, Queenstown
Hart, Campbell & Co (photography studio), 1878, Invercargill
Medium summary collodion glass negative
Materials collodion, sheet glass, silver, photographic plates
Classification wet collodion negatives, documentary photographs, black-and-white negatives
Technique black-and-white photography, wet collodion process
Format whole plate (1/1)
Credit line Purchased 1943
Registration number C.014174

Long before photographs were used in newspapers, William Hart took this picture of Queenstown in flood. Like so many news images of later times, it draws on the extraordinary spectacle of people boating in an urban street – and in this case, even the possibility that a ship might be about to literally steam into town. Photography was still a relative novelty, so the townsfolk were out in force to be recorded for posterity. Their presence reinforces the sense in which photography can be both witness and performance.

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