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A Different Time: The Expedition Photographs of Herbert Basedow 1903-1928


WARNING:
This exhibition and website contain some images of nudity and people in distressing circumstances. Visitors should also be aware that the exhibition and website include names and images of deceased people that may cause sadness or distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


Portrait of Herbert Basedow, about 1920. He is seen from about mid-chest up. His shoulders face to the right of the image while he has his head turned to the left of the image. He wears a jacket, light coloured shirt with high, starched collar, and a dark tie. His short, wavy hair is neatly combed and tidy. His expression is one of earnestness and resolve, as he directs his gaze toward some imaginary landform or horizon. The background is relatively dark and featureless, suggesting a formal studio portrait. The left side of his face, from the viewer's perspective, is in shadow.
Portrait of Herbert Basedow about 1920. Unknown photographer.

A Different Time: The Expedition Photographs of Herbert Basedow 1903–1928 drew on the National Museum of Australia's rich collection of Basedow's photographic work. Imagine life in a different time with Herbert Basedow's photographs of early 20th-century expeditions into central and northern Australia.

Herbert Basedow — anthropologist, geologist, scientist, explorer and medical practitioner — was a remarkable Australian. He was renowned for the breadth of his work across central and northern Australia in the early decades of the 20th century. His extensive knowledge of the country and his opinions were highly valued by scientists, politicians and businessmen of his era.

Part of his great legacy is the National Museum of Australia's collection of more than 2200 negatives created during his many expeditions in remote Australia. His photographs reveal his diverse interests and provide poignant reflections of expeditionary and frontier life — a window into a different time.


A Different Time made its debut in Canberra on 11 July and ran until 12 October 2008. It was also on show in Queensland at the Qantas Founders Museum Longreach from 15 August to 4 December 2011, in South Australia at the South Australian Museum from 11 May to 24 June 2012 and in New South Wales at the Liverpool Regional Museum from 6 April to 13 July 2013.

This exhibition was part of the Vivid – National Photography Festival 2008.

Banner image: Herbert Basedow on a riding camel named Buxton, photographed near present-day Granite Downs station in north-western South Australia on 21 April 1903. Alfred Treloar took this photograph using Basedow's camera. © National Museum of Australia.