The Photograph and Australia: Charles Bayliss

Charles Bayliss, England/Australia, 1850–97 / Lawrence Hargrave trochoided plane model 1884 / Albumen photograph / Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney, Gift of Mr William Hudson Shaw 1994

Charles Bayliss’s photographs of the flying machines and models designed by aeronautical pioneer Lawrence Hargrave exemplify the close ties between photography and modern science.

Hargrave’s 1893 box kite invention contributed towards the development of powered flight. Rather than patenting his discoveries, he shared them with others, claiming ‘the flying machine of the future will not be born fully fledged … Excellence of design and workmanship will always defy competition’. Photography was a crucial way of capturing and disseminating his work, allowing him to send images of his models to other scientists and institutions.

‘The Photograph and Australia’ is on view at the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) until 11 October. An Art Gallery of New South Wales exhibition.