# 37694

TAYLOR, J. (James)

Benny Roy’s camp, Worturpa. (Aboriginal miner).

$400.00 AUD

  • Ask a question

[Title from printed caption in lower margin]. [Published ca. 1900; the original photograph may have been taken as early as ca. 1890]. Collotype process print with hand colouring,145 x 225 mm (image), on sheet 270 x 370 mm; lower margin of sheet with imprint of ‘J. Taylor, Collotype, Adelaide, S. A.’ and printed caption in gold; the print is in excellent condition; the sheet has some wrinkling at the left margin and a few edge tears.

James Taylor, photographer and collotypist, arrived in South Australia from Scotland in 1864. After working for many years in Gawler and Port Augusta he set up business in Adelaide in the early 1900s, producing commercial collotype postcards and prints from original photographs most likely taken by himself on his travels in outback South Australia.

The present photograph was taken at Worturpa goldfield in the Gammon Ranges, south of Arkaroola, South Australia. It shows a local Aboriginal miner, Benny Roy and his family in their camp.

Another Taylor collotype, showing a kangaroo hunt in the Musgrave Ranges, was sourced with the present example, and it has a precise date in its caption of 22 August 1889. The retention of such specific information suggests not only that Taylor took his own photographs; it also indicates that he understood the importance of preserving contextual data, meaning that the photographs he published as collotypes, even after his move to Adelaide, have a value far greater than mere generic images.

Trove locates no other example of this Taylor collotype.

A note on the collotype process:

‘A reproductive printmaking technique that is photographically based. Although collotype is increasingly rare, in the early 20th century it was employed for its effectiveness in reproducing the subtle delicacy of drawings and photographs. A photographic negative is projected onto a printing plate coated with light-sensitive gelatin that hardens and becomes receptive to the application of ink. Paper is laid on top and the image is printed on a press.’ (MoMA)