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Indepth Arts News:

"Photography of H.H. Tilbrook: South Australia at the turn of the century"
2001-07-20 until 2001-11-04
Art Gallery of South Australia
Adelaide, SA, AU

Following his early retirement from the newspaper business, Henry Hammond Tilbrook (1848-1937) devoted his time to his many scientific interests. A dedicated amateur photographer, Tilbrook lugged his heavy camera on trips around South Australia, from the Flinders Ranges to the South East coast, during the 1890s and 1900s, producing a plethora of fascinating and beautiful images.

This remarkable exhibition brings these images to public display for the first time – along with extracts from Tilbrook’s meticulous diaries in which he recorded his journeys, the planning of the photographs and some of the challenges of early outdoor photography.

On a number of occasions he placed himself in precarious positions in order to capture the desired image, to silhouette a rock against the skyline, or to capture the perfect balance of cliff-face against the battering waves.

Gallery Director Ron Radford says By bringing this little-known artist to public attention, we hope that Tilbrook will finally receive due recognition for his work, and that further images and information about his photography will come to light. For example, although he never sold and rarely exhibited his work, several of Tilbrook’s photographs were well known across the state, appearing in train carriages from the 1920s to 1940s. We’ve been unable to trace any of these, though many people still recall them.

The majority of Tilbrook’s known photographic images were made on his various trips around South Australia and into south-western Victoria, undertaken in the 1890s and 1900s. He travelled to the Flinders Ranges in 1894 to photograph this beautiful and then little-known region. He later photographed the country around Mount Gambier, Glenelg River, the coastline around Cape Banks, Robe and Portland, Victoria. Tilbrook also took images closer to his mid-North home, capturing informal photographs of family and friends around the house or on daytrips near Clare, as well as local scenes.

The exhibition includes not only his photographs, but also his stereographs, photo albums and his camera and of course the fascinating diaries that he rewrote in his old age, transcribing a copy for each of his children. In these memoirs he recounted highlights of his life, as well as detailed accounts of photographs taken on his travels. Thus dates, places and the stories behind many of the photographs are known, providing invaluable information and allowing viewers to empathise with the ordeals endured to reach and record these remote and breathtaking locations.

The Tilbrook photographs, stereographs and albums are borrowed from the extensive collection of Mr R.J. Noye. Click here to visit the comprehensive website that Mr Noye has established.

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