Snap! The Glass Plate Negative Project was one of our most popular exhibitions.
Every day we were thrilled by the response from people who have interacted with these extraordinary glass plate images, in a variety of ways.
Many people were blown away by the number of the images in the collection. Others enjoyed ‘inventing’ stories about the sitters – commenting on the way they looked or the clothes they wore, or imagining why the person is having their photograph taken. Children had lots of fun creating mash-up characters by cutting and joining copies of the images into new quirky ‘Franken-puppets’.
Surprisingly, given that the collection spans such a long period of time from the 1880s to early 1930s, and that the sitters were local or had some connection to Ashburton, we have received few definite identifications. Only a few images had names visible, scratched into the glass plate. Many seem so familiar that we believe with a little research and help from the public, we will have the majority known over time.
We’ve had lots of people say they thought they might be able to identify someone, but the photo they were thinking about was in the possession of someone else, or was a large image hanging on their wall, so hard to be certain if it was the same one, and they’ll need to come back in again.
We have all the images on our museum database, so visitors to Ashburton Museum will be able to sit down and take their time to examine them.
Some people said other members of the family would be able to recognise grandma, but they live out of town. For that reason, and because we are just so proud of the collection found under a shed and brought to light, we will be working to ensure the images and any known information associated with them are uploaded to an online database in a new project. Our plan is to ensure that these images easy to find so that people can sit at home and look up topics, items or collections.
Therefore people from around New Zealand, and indeed the world can look at the Halma Collection images and add information or comments.
In this way Snap will become our longest running exhibition as, in its digital format, it will never end.
On this page are just a few of the images that have been identified so far.
By Kathleen Stringer
- The question bugged me, was Newland School really our Newlands? The answer was Yes. A local brought in the names of his Cameron relations, adding that at the time the photo was taken Albert Cameron senior was chair of the school committee.
- One of the many female portraits in the collection was identified as Olive Davison, later Mrs Anderson.
- Connie and Ralph Osborne were actually already in our collection, but ‘refound’ during other research.
- Some images had a name scrawled on the negative. Many were hard to read, but some were clear, although it’s unclear whether the name was the sitter or the person who paid for the image. This is Miss A Patching, or named after someone who wanted her photo taken.
- Obviously this isn’t Mrs W Cook, but her name may help identify her baby.
- Mr Prosser sits named, waiting for someone to reconnect with him.
- Lynne Bensdorp and Bert Ellis compare an image in Snap with one from their family collection.