A Namibian story has it that one morning during the early 1950s two men glided their light aircraft onto a diamond-strewn beach in the Namibian Sperrgebiet (German for no-go or forbidden zone) with the intention of collecting a large amount of diamonds hidden by one of them in rocky outcrops near the beach. On take-off from the beach the aircraft however nose-dived after one of the aircraft’s wheels struck a rock. They were subsequently spotted by the restricted diamond areas’ security personnel and arrested.
Knowingly or unknowingly, South African historians and researchers would have come across a wide variety of original albumen print photographs captured in South Africa during the late 1890s, all of which are titled and numbered followed by the cryptic initials G.W.W.
These photograph titles and numbers with the G.W.W. initials appear in white capital letters across the bottom of each photograph. But who or what was G.W.W.?
Including Revised 1960s Alphabetical Directory of South African based Photographers & Studios (1846 to 1915) - Click here to download.
Shortly after the invention of photography, the camera was briefly referred to as a “Mirror with Memory”, whilst the resulting photographic image was initially referred to as a photogenic drawing.
Antique and vintage photographs are still found on the rare occasion from which a variety of narratives can then be constructed. The purpose of this article is to present a visual narrative using recently discovered discarded photographs.
Every loved domestic dog, no matter how humble their origin, remains the best dog in the world in the eyes of their masters.
We affectionately refer to dogs as our best friend. They also happen to be humankind's oldest "friend" in the animal kingdom in that Canis familiaris, the domestic dog, was the first animal species to be domesticated by humans.
Photographic research, which includes the use of original photographic images, transcends disciplinary borders and combines fields of visual history, visual studies, visual anthropology and art history.
Herein lies an ethical responsibility – the avoidance of stereotypical or abusive representations of people portrayed in these images. Readers, of course, bring their own knowledge, emotions, and imagination, thus no author can fully control how their work is going to be interpreted (Gordon & Kurzwelly, 2018).
Worldwide, where precious mineral resources were discovered, buoyant photographers formed part of the desperate rush that ensued. This trend of fortune seekers, feverish migrating to these newly announced locations was also observed during the South African gold rushes at Pilgrim’s Rest (1873), Barberton (1883) and Johannesburg (1886).
During mid-2019, an exceptional Anglo-Boer War (1899 – 1902) collection of artefacts went up on auction at a Johannesburg based auction house. Photographic images in this collection fetched high prices. However, images that high-end bidders did not pursue with the same vigour were magic lantern slides in the collection. Why would this be?
With reference to the early Durban based photographers Caney, one author recently confirmed the challenge in “disentangling” the relationship between the various Caney individuals.
The number of Caney photographs identified in the Hardijzer Photographic Research Collection also confirms that closer scrutiny was required as to who these photographers were. The photographs in this research collection, all dating from prior to 1905, include studio-based images as well as images captured during the Anglo-Boer war.
Always in search of original South African photographic images from before 1915, the author recently acquired several photo albums from this era at a Pretoria based antique fair.
One of these photo album stands out in that the theme is purely tennis-based, spanning over a 4-year period (between 1909 and 1913).
By chance, whilst researching an unrelated topic, Annel Meyer stumbled upon a photograph taken by the Pretoria based photographer Samuel Tweddill around 1880. This photograph was included in an article published on theheritageportal during July 2018 (click here to view).
Toys, like play itself, serve multiple purposes for both humans and animals (just picture the joy created whilst watching a kitten at play with an arbitrary toy).
Toys provide entertainment and fun whilst fulfilling an educational role at the same time. Although unlikely to have been the original intent, they also enhance cognitive behavior, stimulate creativity and aid in the development of physical and mental skills which are necessary in later life.
The last tram journey in Pretoria took place during 1939 - eighty years ago. Therefore, today it may only be citizens born prior to around 1933, who resided in Pretoria at the time, who may recall the tram activity or may even have travelled on a Pretoria tram as a child.
Recently the author acquired a Victorian Photo album which contained a number of Carte-de-Visite format photographs of Berlin Mission Society missionaries, all attached to the German Lutheran church in Berlin (dating from between 1865 and late 1870s).
Many registered trademark ephemera of yesteryear have collectors competing at auctions, markets and antique fairs to find that one elusive, or previously unidentified item for their collections.
On such trademark is Kodak. Registered as a trademark during 1888, Kodak, which was also present in South Africa some years later, undoubtedly was one of the more successful brand names within both the history of marketing and photography.
First National Bank (FNB) just celebrated their 180th birthday on 15 December 2018. What makes this particularly significant is that the FNB storyline runs in parallel with South African history.
Following the true corporate trend, FNB, as it exists today, came about following a complex tapestry of buyouts and amalgamations to become the well-established bank it is today. This journey certainly did not occur without any upheavals – but the bank managed to stand the test of time.
The South African Border War had an immense social, cultural and political impact on South African society at the time. It resulted in unnecessary loss of life and much trauma, not only for the conscripted men, but also families back home.
This article, which focuses solely on South African beach photography prior to 1970s, is an extension on a similar article recently published on South African pavement photography (click here to read).
The primary purpose of this article is to introduce the first known catalogue (Version 1 – as at November 2018 - click here to download) of Anglo-Boer war stereographic images produced by the American based Underwood and Underwood Publishing Group.
In a recent article published by the author (click here to view), reference was made to a modern photographic phenomenon, namely “found photographs”. In short: “Found photographs” are discarded vintage photographs typically found at charity stores, car boot sales, flea markets or antique fairs. As a single image, any “found” or the converse thereof, “lost” photograph, has sadly lost its original context when viewed by a total str