You would think finding the inspiration to restore 5000 historic Tasmanian photos by iconic photographer John Watt Beattie would be easy. Well I suppose it would be if I were a photographer, but I'm not. I'm an imposter. My grand father and my father were photographers, my brother is a photographer, as is my good friend, my printer and lots of the people I associate with. I don't know what I am (photography wise that is), I'm an anomaly, a photographer that doesn't take photos. That's not it exactly because of course everyone takes photos. I mean professionally. And I'm not a photoshop artist, although I do a lot of photoshop. I'm some kind of historic photography restorative computer museum curator. See, it's hard to define.
When I started this project, I needed to learn. I needed to come up to speed on the photography industry really quickly. And so I sought inspiration. The Internet is a wonderful place. If you can ignore the rubbish, there's a wealth of knowledge and experience out there. Wonderful people who love to share. I've learned everything from photoshop, digitising glass plates, landscape photography, black and white, exposure etc etc etc. You can literally Youtube anything. My daughter proved that when she made the pizza oven and Youtubed how to lay bricks.
I find that I have to have a constant stream of new exciting ideas or I get stuck. I'm stuck at the moment. Not on photography or technique but on business model. But that's another story. I'll write soon, I promise. Right now enjoy one of my personal favourite images from the Beattie's Studio collection - Franklin Square and Hobart GPO. I don't know what it is about this one, but I really like it. It's a big slab of glass, I like glass plates. Maybe it was the fact that the negative didn't give me any trouble, it came up the way I like it (all nice and contrasty) without much work from me. Maybe it's the fact that the Hobart City Council is restoring the park right now and I see it every day. Maybe it's because I've had a GPO box (behind the last arch on the left) for 35 years. I don't know. I just love it. I hope you do too.
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The Beatties Studio blog will provide some behind the scenes information on the studio, the collection of historic old Tasmanian photographs and the digitising process.