The Photograph and Australia: Ernest B Docker

Ernest B Docker / The three sisters Katoomba – Mrs Vivian, Muriel Vivian and Rosamund 7 Feb 1898 / Stereograph / Macleay Museum, The University of Sydney

Ernest B Docker was a lawyer, Supreme Court judge and an amateur photographer, his father Joseph was also a notable early amateur photographer. Ernest was particularly keen on producing stereographic views, of which he produced hundreds on his travels around New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and Norfolk Island.

Stereographs feature two photographs or printed images positioned side by side, one for the left eye and one for the right. When a viewer uses a stereoscope, a device for viewing stereographs, these two flat images are combined into a single image that gives the illusion of depth with these Stereoscopes ranging from small, inexpensive hand-held devices to large pieces of furniture that could display a changing series of stereographs. With the greater interest in travel and tourism in the late 19th century images of popular destinations like the Blue Mountains in New South Wales enabled the armchair tourists to have a ‘you are there’ experience.

The three sisters Katoomba is on display with over 650 historical and modern works only until 11 October in ‘The Photograph and Australia’ exhibition.