About Phil

I was born in Australia. My commercial photography career began with Kodak in George Street in the Professional Sales and Technical Advice Departments, and I later joined Woomera Research Establishment working as a stills photographer.

After three years in the 1960’s working in London I returned to Sydney and started working with Australia’s major advertising agencies.

In the late 1970’s I became interested in panoramic photography, intrigued by the work and cameras of the photographers of the 1920s and 1930s. As these old cameras were no longer available, I decided to design my own modern version. It is a fully rotating panoramic camera and I later designed a helicopter mount, which enabled me to shoot aerial 360 degree panoramas.

The first time I used this set-up was to shoot images of the Australian 1988 Bicentennial celebrations on Sydney Harbour – see A Nation Celebrates (1) and  A Nation Celebrates (2).

002 A Nation Celebrates Series 2

 

Armed with my new camera and helicopter mount, I found a totally new way of seeing the grandeur, beauty and spectacle of the vast Australian landscape, its towns and cities, and over the years has helped me show the world the real Australia.

I have produced two books using my panoramic camera, ‘Sydney – A Pictorial Contrast’ and ‘Perth – A Pictorial Contrast’.

In the 1990’s I started taking sporting panoramas for Channel 9’s Wide World of Sport. Going on to shoot for Cricket Australia, Australian Rugby Union, Bathurst car Race Starts, 2000 Sydney Olympics, 2008 Rugby World Cup producing many limited edition prints signed by famous sportsmen.

In recent years, I have spent much of my time restoring black & white photos that were taken in the 1920s & 1930s (read more about these below).  Those original panoramic cameras produced immense detail, which has given very satisfying results when working on and restoring the negatives, even the damaged ones now show great clarity.

Circular Quay, Sydney 1904

 


Our History Made Clear – 1920s & 1930s

Having meticulously restored photographic prints, depicting scenes of early Australia, its immigrants, its country towns and cities and famous beaches and significant historic events, these can now be offered for sale for the first time. More are being added to the site as they are restored.

They were taken by the revolutionary Cirkut Camera, Eastman Kodak’s rotational method of taking panoramic images (nicknamed “yard-longs” in America).  Initially devised by the Rochester Camera Company, and acquired, perfected and patented by Kodak in 1907, this amazing camera took off in earnest in the 1920s and ’30s.

Fortunately for us, several enterprising photographers at around this time recorded the scenes presented here, mostly of Sydney and Queensland.  The majority of them used the 180 degrees format, and others the full rotation of 360 degrees.

Using a high end scanner, the careful and faithful restoration process of each negative has captured much extraordinarily fine detail in the finished prints.  The closer you look the more you see.  The images of Sydney show just how many of the original landmarks are still standing today—the QVB, the clock towers at Town Hall and the GPO, St Mary’s and St Andrew’s cathedrals, wharf buildings, various bridges in Sydney Harbour, and much, much more.

Brilliant shot why don't you buy it!

Look even closer and you will see, in one image, two figures working on dome, not obvious at first glance (see Pan #138). Panning a little to the right from here is Fort Street High School.  In another, a woman crossing a road had originally been cropped out. In the new print she is back in frame, dressed in white and carrying a parasol.  Yet another, taken in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, and not shown in the original print, shows a woman asleep on a bench.

H 142 PAN

So much of Australia’s early settlement history is shown here, from city rooftops to country towns and spreading farms.  Scenes of growing commerce, square-rigged ships and wharves and warehouses.  And especially, pictures of people.  Proud immigrants who wanted to show relatives in their homeland just how successful they had become.  The photographer would line up the whole family—mama, papa and the kids dolled up in their Sunday best in front of their new home—perhaps with a truck, farming tools and equipment, the lot.  And Click! In one perfectly clear photo their story is told.

And speaking of perfectly clear… Because the quality of the information in the original Cirkut Camera images is so high (virtually in today’s gigapixel range), the smallest detail is captured with astonishing clarity.

Who knows?  With a good magnifying glass you may find yourself looking at one of your ancestors.

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