A funny thing happened while I was working on some photos the other day. NBN called me to see if I was happy with my new NBN connection. To say I'm happy is an under statement. With the older, slower ADSL, it was taking me nearly all week to upload photos I had finished on the weekend. Yes, 5 days to upload 2 days work. That's slow. And often the connection would time out and I had to start again. Anyway, long story short, when NBN found out how happy I was, they asked what I was using the NBN for. So I told them about Beattie's and my project to digitize the historic photos of Tasmania. That's when they asked if they could run a story about me in the Sunday Tasmanian.
The experience of being interviewed and photographed was fun and I'm delighted with the article. Being mindful that The Mercury doesn't have unlimited space and so any article can only tell a small part of the story, I think they did a great job. There's obviously more to the Beattie's story on this web site (see History).
A few people have jumped to the conclusion that we have 100,000 historic photos on the web site. Regrettably this is not so. There are roughly 5000 historic negatives in the collection. I have digitized about 2000 of them and most of those are on the web site. The exact number changes day to day. The 100,000 are the studio photos of people, groups, babies, weddings etc. I will think about starting on those if and when I finish the 5000 historic photos.
By "historic" I mean that the photos are of interest to a wide audience. They are often of places, buildings or events. A large number of the historic photos were taken by J W Beattie, more by Arch Stephenson and the other photographers who either worked for Beattie or before Beattie. The historic collection continues after Beattie's passing, so there are photos from 1930-1993 in there as well. Our oldest photo (that I have found so far) is dated 1867, but there probably older ones in there that I don't have dates on. Rarely did the photographers of that period actually date their photos.
And the biggest omission in the article (which is entirely my fault) is that of my brother, William Stephenson. His contribution to the preservation of the collection is as important as those before him. He is the current custodian of the collection. I am the computer geek turned photographer that is digitizing it, slowly.