Bond Studios Glass Negative Collection

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Date range: 
20th century to 1940
Port Adelaide,
South Australia

The collection comprises 1,500 glass 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, and soldiers and sailors departing for war. Most of the negatives are labeled with surnames so it is possible to identify the subjects with further research.

The Museum is currently scanning the Bond Studio collection. These images will eventually be available online.   The original glass negatives are in storage and accessible by appointment only. 


The Bond Studio 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 sports people, encompassing a spectrum of ages and ethnicities, vocations and recreations.   The portraits document the changing fashions of the period and hint at international events such as World War and economic depression that impacted on the community. Some portraits are directly linked to events – celebrations, sporting competitions, anniversaries - in the Port and reflect the culture and ceremonial milestones that marked life in this unique 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.

Collection highlights

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