Australian flaneur Arthur K. Syer took these candid photographs of street scenes in Sydney, Australia towards the end of 19th Century. We see deliveries, barrow shopping, queues at Circular Quay, shipping, street cleaning, children playing, farming, scenes at horse races and farming scenes. Syer’s low angle photographs were taken surreptitiously, using a ‘detective camera’. Such cameras, sometimes concealed in parcels or portmanteau, were made possible with the invention of the dry plate in 1880.
Arthur K. Syer was brother of the artist Walter Syer, (aka the illustrator ‘Cue’) and a friend of Phil May, the English cartoonist who for three years (1886–1889) worked for the The Sydney Bulletin. Arthur supplied May with snapshots photographs of everyday people. May used the photographs to add authenticity to his cartoons.
Via: State Library of New South Wales
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