This collection comprises over 2000 glass plate negatives from Bond Studios in Port Adelaide. AE Bond was listed as a photographer in Commercial Road, Port Adelaide from 1901, although state collections include photographs credited to Bond that date back to 1867. In the 1930s the business shifted to St Vincent Street.
The negatives are studio portraits of generations of Portonians. They capture individual rites of passage such as weddings, graduations, debuts, birthdays, as well as soldiers and sailors departing for war. The collection provides a charming, poignant and evolving snapshot of the Port Adelaide community. Even poor families could usually afford a single studio portrait and the collection provides insights into the demography of the Port. Subjects include children, sailors, soldiers, brides, mothers, dancing troupes and sportspeople, encompassing a spectrum of ages and ethnicities, vocations and recreations. They document the changing fashions of the period and hint at international events such as war and economic depression that impacted the community. The highly staged portraits with props and elaborate backdrops hint at the preciousness of a studio photograph to working-class families and reflect on a period when photographs supplanted the painted portrait. Photographs were not meant to capture spontaneity but were records, to be treasured, of individuals at their very best.
You can view the collection here.
The negatives are labelled with surnames so please get in touch with us at email@example.com if any of the glass negatives are of your ancestors. This is a long-term research project and we rely on your information to flesh out these portraits.