This image shows six of the faces behind the cameras. It was taken at the Australian News and Information Bureau’s York Street darkrooms in Sydney after an early morning briefing, just before the arrival in Australia of the Queen on 3 February 1954.
Pictured in the back row, left to right, are James (Jim) Fitzpatrick (Sydney office), Neil Murray (Melbourne), William (Bill) Pederson (Canberra), and John Tanner (Sydney). In the front row, left to right, are Cliff Bottomley (Melbourne) and Chief photographer Bill Brindle (Sydney).
Surprisingly, colour photographs have been around almost as long as black and white. But in the early years of photography, capturing an image in colour required considerable extra effort along with a knowledge of chemistry – not exactly ideal for family snaps.
In 1938, Kodak released Kodachrome, revolutionising colour photography. For the first time, people could buy a roll of colour film for their Box Brownie, and snap away. They’d then send the film off to a laboratory and a few days later receive a box of colour transparencies. The family slide-show night was born!
When handling transparencies from that era today, National Archives preservation staff are mindful of the chemical instability that gradually deteriorates the film.
To prolong the life of film, each transparency is duplicated on new colour film and the originals are then stored in a cold room, at 10 degrees and a relative humidity of 34 per cent. The photos in Summers Past were made from those first duplicates in order to protect the originals.
Images in the Archives photographic collection are progressively being digitised and can be accessed via PhotoSearch.