GOODE, Bernard (1834-1897)
An exceptionally rare Australian double portrait photograph, circa 1865.
Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 101 x 63 mm (mount), verso with imprint of ‘B. Goode, Photographic Artist, 69, Rundle Street, Adelaide’; both the albumen print and mount are in fine condition.
One of exceedingly few examples from the earliest period of trick photography in Australia.
Bernard Goode was working as a professional photographer at various addresses in Adelaide from 1861, and opened his studio at 69 Rundle Street in October 1864. He was one of three Adelaide photographers who are known to have made multiple portraits as a novelty in 1865, the other two being the young Phillip Marchant, and George Freeman. All three followed a method which had been published in the American photographic magazine Humphrey’s Journal the previous year. Goode’s famous triple self-portrait (National Gallery of Australia) and Philip Marchant’s double self-portrait (State Library of South Australia) are both illustrated in Davies & Stanbury, Mechanical Eye in Australia. Goode, however, took his experiments with trick photography one step further than either Marchant or Freeman by advertising double portraits to the general public:
‘B. Goode begs to acquaint the public of South Australia that he has now completed his experiments, and offers portraits of the same person in two styles on the same card, which gives a very novel and pleasing effect, as they show no line of separation … Specimens to be seen at his establishment, 69, Rundle-Street.’ (South Australian Register, 29 September 1865)
The present example, a double portrait of an unidentified gentleman, was in all likelihood produced around the time of Goode’s advertisement in the Register.
The process employed by Goode (and Marchant and Freeman) involved taking two individual portraits on a double-exposure using special plate-holders and rotating partial lens caps. These devices enabled half of the negative to be exposed at a time. After the first exposure, the subject of the photograph would quickly move into a different position so the second half of the picture could be made. The anonymous sitter in this example had time to change jackets and either remove or don his top hat before the second exposure. Whilst giving nothing away about how Goode was able to achieve his startling novel effect, a contemporary reviewer noted that the method demanded considerable precision ‘to preserve the uniformity of the background, and avoid all indications as to the line where the junction between each picture is effected.’ (ibid.)
In the 1866 Adelaide Almanac and Directory for South Australia Goode advertised an expansion of his repertoire: ‘… single, double, triple and cameo style photographs, up to five figures of one person in different positions on one card’.
With the exception of Goode’s triple self-portrait in the National Gallery of Australia, we can locate no other examples of his multiple portraits in Australian public collections.