Movie: Drawing with light

Drawing with Light: photography at the Australian Museum.

© Australian Museum
Carl Bento (images) & Deborah White (text)


The Australian Museum opened its doors in 1857, roughly the same time as the rise of photography as we know it. Photography has become an extremely important tool for documentation and visual expression. Consequently, an extraordinary photographic collection has been created, recording the life, times and work of the Australian Museum.

Enjoy our photo album.

Our image makers [images of Museum photographers]

Much of the Museum's vast collection has been photographed at some point.

This documenting process serves many purposes within the Museum's walls:

  • It illustrates the biology of our natural world
  • ...and its biological processes.
  • It records the physical condition of objects.
  • It creates images of those ceremonies, techniques and beliefs that makes every culture unique.
  • It keeps a record of all the things that time and progress change in our lives.
  • It provides accurate scientific information for model makers.
  • It records field work, archaeological digs and research.
  • It records all the ups and downs of exhibition production...
  • ...and those who put much of themselves into it.
  • It brings science to a larger audience through print and other media.
  • It captures the reactions of our visitors to our collections and functions.
  • It keeps an ongoing record of our directors from the beginning to the present.

Photography is about documentation, visual art and everything in between.

In a museum setting, this does not change.

In fact, the art and the context feed each other...

...leaving behind a superb collection of images rich with history and meaning.


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Tags Australian Museum, history, historical, collections, photography, images, photographs, archival images, documentation,