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Peck, Julia
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
Subjects: DU, TR
This paper will explore how two different photographic accounts of working landscapes in nineteenth-century New South Wales reveal changing social identities and preferences for cultural artefacts between 1860 and the mid 1890s. \ud \ud Joseph and Ernest Docker’s photographs of their own property (c. 1860-1869) disavow details of labour and land productivity in favour of producing picturesque landscape photographs. Both Dockers were educated amateurs, producing delicate, hand-made photographs demonstrating their cultural sophistication. \ud \ud The photographs of Pulletop Station (c. 1886-1891), in contrast, celebrate conspicuous leisure, depict employed labour and articulate class relations. The owner, Edmund Westby, commissioned the photographs to celebrate the productivity and cultural refinements of the property (including photographs of the garden and the broader landscape). The photographer, Charles Bayliss, was a commercial views photographer based in Sydney: the cultural depiction of the landscape, as well as the labour that made the economics of the landscape possible, is passed to skilled operators. Shunning a traditional painted commission, Westby’s interest in a photographic celebration of the landscape suggests that he was concerned with new representational forms, creating a link between his economic and social mobility and the means by which it was represented. \ud \ud The explicit visualisation of leisure and class relations in the later photographs of Pulletop arguably reveal how Westby was able to position himself within a social elite associated with the formation of an identifiable Australian social hierarchy. Significantly, the exposure of class relations was not distasteful him, creating a record of changing tastes in the landscape photography specific to Australia.
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    • Connell, R.W. and T.H. Irving 1980. Class Structure in Australian History: Document, Narrative and Argument, Melbourne: Longman Cheshire Pty Limited.  1876. Correspondence. The British Journal of Photography, pp. 321-322.
    •  1876. The Scenery of the Blue Mountains N.S.W. The British Journal of Photography, pp. 309-310.
    •  1876. The Scenery of the Blue Mountains, N.S.W. The British Journal of Photography, pp. 317-318.
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