“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”
(min cost $8)
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The opening line of L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between catches brilliantly the disappeared manners and dress of these photographs from the Max Harris Collection.
Selected images from the newly-acquired Max Harris Collection at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute document everyday life in Ballarat. These images focus on the period between the mid-1950s through to the end of the 1960s.
Curator Amy Tsilemanis hopes the pictures displayed in the Hooper Room at the BMI will bring to the surface the names of some of the people in them. A picture of two runners standing on a cold, wet Sturt Street preparing to take part in the Ballarat to Daylesford Relay has already been named by one of the people in the actual photograph.
“He came in, said ‘that’s me on the left, and then named everyone else in the picture,’” says Ms Tsilemanis.
The images are remarkable for displaying the architecture of Ballarat that has remained, but also for what is gone – such as the Armstrong Street swimming pool. Only the back wall of the pool remains now, with the actual pool filled in for a car park.
The broken window of Connie Russo Hairdressers – what happened there? Who are the marching ladies, or the girls in Sturt Street on the bench? What happened to the Ballarat Banjo Club?
Theses images ask as many questions as they provide glimpses of a different way of life. It’s a world of sensible trousers, solid cars and outward security.
Ms Tsilemanis says that with Stage 1 of the Max Harris Collection housed at the BMI being launched at the Open Day last weekend, people can now come in and enjoy exhibitions and displays, buy prints of their choice, or get research assistance if they are members.
“All funds raised will go back into the Institute to support local culture, community and learning,” said Ms Tsilemanis.
“Philanthropy has made Stage 1 possible and the BMI invites benefactors to get involved in further developing the collection at the BMI. People's patience is also welcomed during this developmental stage.”
‘In the Picture: Ballarat through Time’ exhibition runs until September 30.
All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.- Susan Sontag
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