Before the days of Instagram, personal cameras, copyright and privacy laws, street photographers were a familiar part of city streets during the 1930’s to the late 1950’s, inadvertently creating a vast archive of black-and-white, postcard-sized candid images.

At the height of its popularity in the mid 1930’s, over 10,000 people in NSW were buying photos from street photography companies every week. Developed in collaboration with nationally acclaimed photomedia artist Anne Zahalka, this exhibition explores the heyday of this once popular but now forgotten genre.

Following a hugely successful public call-out over 1500 personal images contributed by people far and wide have come to light giving a glimpse into the everyday life during the Depression, WWII and postwar years. These images recall a time when people dressed up in their Sunday best to ‘go to town’, the women in hats and gloves and the men in suits. They show us the war years when servicemen and women were a common sight on our streets, and the optimistic faces of postwar immigrants exploring their new city. Each a memento of a day spent in the city, 250 of these images, digitised and enlarged, form the basis this exhibition.

Presented alongside this extraordinary and largely unseen pictorial record is a series of works by Anne Zahalka, who has restaged ten of the original images, with descendants and those still living in similar locations where their parents, grandparents or they once stood. The exhibition also includes contemporary candid images taken in key places similar to the street photography of the past. This gallery of faces reveals just how much we have changed – or have we?

Available for bookings from October 2022.


 

Tour contact

Alison McCann

Project Manager - Exhibitions & Travelling Exhibitions
Sydney Living Museums

T: 02 8239 2375
E: alisonmc@slm.com.au

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