Our Art / William H. Hart / Ballarat Street, Queenstown, NZ

Ballarat Street, Queenstown, NZ by William H. Hart
Ballarat Street, Queenstown, NZ by William H. Hart

Ballarat Street, Queenstown, NZ, 1878

William H. Hart

Long before photographs were used in newspapers, William Hart took this picture of Queenstown in flood. Like so many news images of later times, it draws on the extraordinary spectacle of people boating in an urban street – and in this case, even the possibility that a ship might be about to literally steam into town. Photography was still a relative novelty, so the townsfolk were out in force to be recorded for posterity. Their presence reinforces the sense in which photography can be both witness and performance.

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Credit
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
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