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Australian Heritage Photo Restoration

Australian Heritage Photo Restoration

Australian Historical Restoration and heritage photographic history enhancement
We are Yesterdays photo, an Australian Heritage and Historical photo restoration and archival supplier in Perth Western Australia.


graphic vintage item


Generations of Australians have been fascinated by the potential of photography since it made its debut in the New South Wales colony in the middle of the 1800s

After Nicéphore Niépce and Louis Daguerre invented photography, it took over two decades for the first Australian daguerreotype to be developed in Sydney, Australia, in 1841, after this the “camera obscura” and its descendants became an important part of our history. 

The wonderful new technique developed by Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre for capturing images without the involvement of the artist’s hand was indeed an important time in history.

A sheet of copper was coated with silver and then meticulously polished in Daguerre’s method. The plate was put in a camera obscura, sensitised with iodine vapours, and exposed over several minutes.

Specifically in Daguerre’s technique, a sheet of copper was covered in silver and then methodically polished. The plate was placed in a camera obscura, exposed for up to several minutes, and afterwards sensitised with iodine vapours. The imprinted image was then developed using mercury vapour. 

Where the light had struck the plate the most, a mercury deposit had formed. The residual mercury was eliminated with the use of hyposulphite of soda, and the image was then adjusted. The delicate picture was washed in distilled water before being mounted behind glass. The method’s produced one  extraordinarily clear and sharp positive, but limited to that copy only and the picture viewing limited and it could only be seen from specific angles due to reflections.



Portrait - Daguerreotype of Louis Daguerre in 1844 by Jean-Baptiste Sabatier-Blot
Daguerreotype of the inventor of photography and the camera Louis Daguerre in 1844 by Jean-Baptiste Sabatier-Blot (public domain)


While Daguerre was in France, an Englishman named William Henry Fox Talbot created “photogenic drawing,” which he defined as “the method by which natural things may be made to outline themselves without the intervention of the artist’s pencil.” By the year 1841, Fox Talbot had succeeded in developing negative photographs by dipping sheets of drawing paper in potassium bromide and silver nitrate, followed by a six- to seven-minute exposure in a camera obscura. These paper negatives may then be developed into positive images, which can then be printed. Around ten years after the initial negative-positive approach was created, the wet-plate method, which is more useful, was made possible.

Many people had thought about and tried to permanently fix and evolve the method created by the camera obscura. Joseph Nicephore Niepce, one of them, formed a relationship with Daguerre, who cooperated with Niepce’s son Isidore after Niepce’s passing.

Australian records show that the oldest Australian surviving photo known to date is from 1845. (A Daguerreotype portrait of Dr William Bland taken by the portraitist George Baron Goodman, considered to be the first Australian Professional Photographer) 

George, the third son of a prosperous Jewish family who had the chance to study under Daguerre’s wing in Paris, he was born on April 10, 1815, in London. When George got back to London, he obtained permission to shoot photographs inside the British colonies from Richard Beard, who had the English patent for the technique. 

During half a decade in Australia it is believed that Baron Goodman produced around a thousand daguerreotypes from which a few have survived the inclement pass of time, 


Enhanced Portrait George Baron Goodman
Digital artist interpretation of George Baron Goodman Daguerreotype - restoration by Yesterdays photo


There is a four year Gap in our visual history, which makes us wonder about all the missing pieces in our history that did not survive.

There are many historical gaps in Australia that ought to be filled, and we would want for you to help us do this so that we may create a comprehensive Australian photography blog and gallery together of memorable events in our history one photo at the time.

Our photo heritage is nothing but precious, it is an invaluable source of information, and a compilation of surviving stories told in copper and silver-halide.

Digitally restored daguerreotype of Caroline and son Thomas James Lawson by George Baron Goodman

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