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Archive for March, 2013

Old Film: The Two Boys (1940s)

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

These two boys continue to appear in this group of old film negatives. This photograph was scanned from a 6cm x 9cm film negative made by my grandmother Elvie Ruth Bonner (1901-1986). The boys are around the age of my father, from earlier photographs, so this image was probably made in the early-to-mid 1940s. If anyone can tell me who they are I’d be interested to hear – all I know is this photographs seem to have been made somewhere other than Risby’s Basin logging camp at Maydena, Tasmania. My uncle Bill may be able to fill in the gaps if he reads this post. I love the way the little guy on the right is still chewing lollies.

Two boys standing in front of a weatherboard house

A Power comes from the making of Real World Things

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

I was never much of a handyman and there were always profound limitations to my ability to craft and create. I’m not a great cook. I find drawing stickmen with two even sized legs a chore. The World I inhabited for much of my adult life was one of considered thought and extracurricular ideas. Books. Movies. Conversation.

But over the last ten years I’ve moved into a far more satisfying phase of my life with the growing inclination toward making things in the real World. Actual physical stuff. I really enjoy making mead and having people appreciate it. And I enjoy making photographs with old analogue cameras.

I enjoy the idea that when I do return to the dirt – as humans are bound to do whether we like to accept it or not – there will be physical artifacts. Photographs. Bottles of liquor. These artifacts serve as a commentary beyond the verbal history or the thought impressions left in my wake.

Real things matter. And I’m not sure the books I’ve read or the movies watched or the conversations with incredibly diverse and interesting people will account to much of anything. They’re vapourware. Just like tens-of-thousands of unprinted digital photographs are vapourware. Because a photograph isn’t a real photograph until it’s an actual photograph, or at least a negative, in the hand.

I live in a house with a potters wheel, an etching press, easels and brushes, ink and paint and pencils. Cameras. Chemicals. Fermenting mead. The things of making other things. This is a house of artists and artisans. And I’ve come to appreciate the intrinsic value of making things and made things more and more in recent years.

When I sit back on a couch late at night with a photograph I know this to be something real and of value. It persists when I leave the room. And the closer I can ingrain myself to the making of these physical things the more rewarding I find the experience.

Great Great Uncle Walter Bonner’s Wonderful Moustache

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Walter Bonner

Facial hair seems to have lost it’s way over the last century. This photograph made of my great great uncle Walter Buckoll Bonner (1868-1907) is a prime example of what we’re missing in modern moustache culture. Sure, there are some fringe dwellers out there doing a Walter Bonner style attempt at retro-cool. But it’s a rare thing indeed to see them in the street.

Walter was born in Ringarooma, Tasmania. The son of Edward William Bonner (1824-1897) who named his son after a recently departed brother, Walter Stephen Bonner (1819-1862), born in Surrey, England. This photograph was made in Launceston, Tasmania around the turn of the Twentieth Century.

Van Dieman’s Land became the colony of Tasmania in 1856 and then, in 1901, a State of the Commonwealth of Australia.

In 1850, at the age of 31, the late Walter Stephen Bonner (Walter Buckoll Bonner’s uncle after who he was named) had married a lady with the coolest 19th Century name – Euphemia Craw (1830-1907). Born in St Cuthberts, Midlothian, Scotland, she was married at 20 years of age. They both lived and died in Launceston, Tasmania. She outlived the older Walter by 45 years.

Walter Buckoll Bonner, in the photograph above, also died relatively young at 38 years of age in Jetsonville, Tasmania.

On this fine Saturday morning in Southern Tasmania we lift a cheery mead to Walter’s fine facial hair. “You, Sir, epitomised true style in the colony”.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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