This listing of the photographers and studios operating in Brisbane from 1855 to 1901, is an abridged version of the print publication 'Capturing Brisbane'.
Lansdown, Walter James
Walter Lansdown was born in England and had emigrated to Brisbane by 1890. He was living in Paddington and employed as a photographer during 1895-96, likely for a local photographic business. He had ceased working in the industry by 1903.
Le Sueur, Alfred Aubin
Alfred Le Sueur was born in England and emigrated to New Zealand around 1880. He entered a photographic partnership with Frank Coxhead in Dunedin until 1882, before moving to Brisbane the following year. Around 1888 William Tuttle disposed of Tuttle & Co at 67 Queen Street in Brisbane. Alfred Le Sueur was noted as manager of Brisbane branch of Tuttle & Co at that time, and it is also possible he was the purchaser. He ran the Brisbane business until August 1893, perhaps a little later. There is no evidence that Tuttle & Co was sold to anyone, nor that the equipment or stock in trade were auctioned off.
Le Sueur left for Sydney in February 1894 and when he returned, he entered a partnership with John Wiley, as Wiley & Le Sueur, to operate the Wiley Studio located at 8 Queen Street, Brisbane. Rarely was the name Wiley & Le Sueur mentioned, and the old trading name of Wiley & Co was more common. Both Le Sueur and Wiley were frequently behind the camera even though they employed other trained staff. The partnership between Le Sueur and Wiley was formally dissolved in January 1898. Though John Wiley continued in business, the dissolution ended Le Sueur’s association with the photographic industry.
Photographer Robert Leck left Glasgow, Scotland for Queensland in 1862. Leck opened a portrait gallery in Queen Street, Brisbane on 8 September 1862. The premises, opposite the Court House, had been previously used by Stiebel in 1860. Leck’s portraits were likely by the Talbotype process, his early claim to fame being the portrait he took of the popular explorer William Landsborough that year. In December 1862, in addition to variously sized portraits, Leck also advertised carted de visite. While Leck is sometimes hailed as the first photographer to have used carte de visite in Queensland, that innovation was achieved by George Challinor.
Leck expanded his business in March 1864, renting a larger space in the new Bulcock’s Buildings in Queen Street, Brisbane. A devastating fire in April destroyed fourteen shops in Queen Street, including Bulcock’s Buildings. The extent of Leck’s loss is unknown, however he opened temporary premises in what was termed Refuge Row in Edward Street. What became known as Leck’s Portrait Rooms consisted of a two-room timber house with a galvanised roof. In September another fire in Refuge Row saw Leck’s property threatened, and a large tank of water was emptied over it to prevent it catching fire. There is no record of what damage may have occurred.
Leck appears to have operated as a part-time real estate agent during 1866 and by September 1866 Leck’s Portrait Rooms on Refuge Row were auctioned for removal. No further trace of Robert Leck has been noted and what became of him remains yet unknown.
Livi, Galdini Joseph
Galdini Livi was born in London, England and arrived in Sydney with his mother and eight siblings in 1878. It is likely he worked for a photographic studio in Sydney before moving to Brisbane by 1887. He was also known by the surname Livio in Brisbane, and in later life was known as Joseph Livi. There is a suggestion he may have worked for Tuttle and Co, at 67 Queen Street, Brisbane, and possibly for himself as G Livio & Co in Red Hill. Both are likely to have been before or during 1889. The next few years of his life are also difficult to piece together, however by 1904 he had returned with his family to Sydney and continued to work as a photographer.
Albert Lomer, the son of a successful English merchant and arrived in Melbourne in 1853. He found employment there with W Davies & Co, photographers of Melbourne. Lomer moved to Sydney and with fellow photographer Andrew Chandler, commenced business as Chandler and Lomer in December 1864. He married Chandler’s sister, Angelina, in Sydney in February 1865. The business partnership of Chandler and Lomer was intermittent over the next few years, finally ending in January 1867. Lomer remained in Sydney until November 1869, and shortly afterwards commenced work with the American and Australian Photographic Company in Melbourne. He became manager of the Bourke Street branch in August 1870.
Lomer returned to Sydney with his family in August 1872, before moving on alone to Brisbane. Apparently finding it to his liking he brought his family to Brisbane in October 1872. His new studio in Queen Street, opposite the School of Arts, was opened on 7 January 1873. Lomer’s artistic talent was obvious to most, including the Queensland Governor, who gave his patronage in April 1873.
Albert Lomer settled well into Brisbane society with an admirable reputation, and ensured he was able to keep customers returning by offering new and exciting products. At the Brisbane Exhibition of 1877 Lomer won first prize for an untouched portrait from life, and the following year it was his enlargements that were most noted. During 1878 Albert Lomer visited Sydney several times, no doubt keeping up to date with the photographic industry, but also seeking further business opportunities. Lomer and his family finally left Brisbane in October 1878, leaving the studio in the hands of Gustave Collin who had probably worked for Lomer for some time. He married Lomer’s sister-in-law, Alice Chandler, in February 1879. Collin was sometimes acknowledged as the new proprietor of the business, though he never publicly claimed ownership. Lomer may have retained an interest in the Brisbane company that bore his name, at least until 1883.
Lomer & Co, A
From the time Gustave Collin began to manage Lomer’s Brisbane studio around March 1879, it was known as A Lomer & Co. Previously it had simply borne the name of its founder, Albert Lomer. Whether Collin became a partner in the company or purchased it at that time has not yet been determined. As manager Collin immediately set about promoting the studio. In November 1879 he revealed to Brisbane photographic enlargements taken in the Lomer studio by the ‘opal process.’ Printed on opaline porcelain, the process was said to give the photograph ‘softness, combined with brilliancy and warmth of tone.’ This may have been the earliest introduction of the process in Australia, and the firm promoted it consistently for more than six months. The process gave them a market advantage and Collins was astute enough to continue to promote new or competitively priced products. As business increased the firm constructed a second well-lit gallery in mid-1880 to cope with demand and reduce delays.
In June 1881 Lomer & Co offered to enlarge any faded photograph, coloured or plain, to any size required, with the added advantage of approving of it before pickup. It provided the company with a share of a market of which they had not been part. Thereafter many Lomer advertisements noted that old photographs could be ‘resuscitated’. As the studio and market evolved and the studio staff were able to service portrait demand, Gustave Collin was able to venture into new areas. At the end of 1882 his new range of enamelled cabinet-sized photographs of landscapes and buildings received favourable review, and the firm was also able to offer instantaneous outdoor photographs, including large groups, taken in a garden on the studio premises.
Gustave Collin entered an equal-share partnership with former teacher Francis Keogh in January 1883 to operate A Lomer & Co. Collin’s focus was placed on photography which he knew well, and Keogh on the customer interaction and management of the business. The new Queensland Governor, Sir Anthony Musgrave, granted patronage to A Lomer & Co in late December 1883. The continuing patronage of the public however also saw the firm enlarge their establishment and take adjoining premises for customer reception and dressing rooms yet again. The studio then included buildings at 156 to 160 Queen Street.
The quality of the work produced by A Lomer & Co resulted in awards at the 1884 Brisbane Exhibition including first in untouched portraits from life, and life-size enlargement, as well as a second in landscapes. In 1885 and again in 1886 most of the photography prizes were awarded to A Lomer & Co. There was a subtle change in the company’s newspaper advertisements from 1886 from products to reputation and the by-line ‘It is well known that the finest photographs to be had are at A Lomer & Co’ was still in use in 1893. By the end of 1886 the company were employing representatives on the Darling Downs.
The 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s ascent to the throne in 1837 was known generally as the Jubilee year. Special silver Jubilee medals were struck as prizes in many competitions for the Exhibition at Brisbane, but few led to as much angst as that awarded for the best collection of photographs. Lomer & Co were awarded first prize in all nine photography classes at the 1887 Exhibition, two bronze medals, and the coveted Jubilee Medal. Edward Hutchison of Elite Photo Co cried foul and lodged a protest which saw the RNA Protest Committee overturn the decision and award the Jubilee medal to Hutchison. An appeal to the Council of the National Association was referred to the original judges who confirmed the validity of their decision and Lomer & Co received the Jubilee medal. The matter played out in the newspapers on and off for more than a year. In April 1888 the Jubilee medal was stolen from the Lomer studio. It was not recovered, and Lomer & Co met the costs of replacing it. It was stolen again in February 1889. A highlight for the firm in 1889 however was the grant of patronage by the new Queensland Governor, Sir Henry Norman, after viewing proofs of himself.
In January 1894 the partnership between Gustave Collin and Francis Keogh that had lasted 11 years, was dissolved by mutual consent. Collin retained the business and debts. It became A Lomer and Company, Limited in February 1894 with Collin as Managing Director and six other unidentified partners. The new company traded for the following five years and based on advertising alone, appeared to retain a fair market share.
Albert Lomer made it publicly known in May 1899 that he was wrapping up his own business affairs in the colonies, and that he had ceased to have any connection or interest in A Lomer & Co Limited. He may have had family knowledge of the precarious financial position of the company. In June it was revealed that A Lomer and Company Limited could not continue business and was to be voluntarily wound-up. Gustave Collin was appointed by the company to be its liquidator. The photographic studio continued to trade through 1899 though all sales were only for cash. Soon afterwards Gustave Collin became insolvent, and it is not apparent whether he remained connected with A Lomer & Co. The company continued to operate from its studio until early 1904 though little advertising was done.
London Photographic Company
The proprietors of the London Photographic Company have not been identified. They were likely travelling photographers with little intent to stay long-term in Brisbane. There is an indication they were in Ipswich sometime prior to their arrival in Brisbane in September 1861.
Around 14 September 1861 the company opened rooms in Queen Street, Brisbane, next to the Colonial Architect’s Office. Framed portraits were offered, and ‘instantaneous’ photographs of children. From 24 October the business relocated to Charlotte Street, next to the Prince of Wales Hotel. The exact length of its stay has been difficult to determine, however the company was operating in Ipswich in December 1861.
London Photographic Saloon
See Samuel Blackburn.
Lords is known to have been a travelling photographer from Victoria, however that appears to be the current limit of knowledge on his early life. Not even his forename has been revealed in documentation.
His photographic studio in Poole’s Buildings, George Street, Brisbane, next to Lennon’s Hotel, was opened on Saturday 26 November 1892. Describing himself as ‘the eminent photographer’, Lords advertised extensively for the first couple of months. His recognised portrait skills attracted many, including the Chief Justice, Sir Samuel Griffith who sat for a portrait was finished in colours. Lords had either the artistic skills to do the work himself or the services of an artist.
Early in 1894 Lords described his studio as ‘the most commodious, artistic and elegant studio in Brisbane’. With another George Street photographer John Hogg, he travelled by train to Melbourne in February and from about August to December 1894 they combined in Lords’ premises, as Lord & Hogg.
Lords ended his association with Hogg around the end of the year and left Brisbane. In early November 1894, he, with A Lomer & Co, JJ Hogg, and Alexander Wishart formed the Sarony Photographic Co to open a joint studio in Targo Street Bundaberg, for just three weeks. The temporary studio was under the supervision of one of the partners and it is possible this was where Lords went. After leaving Brisbane however he effectively disappeared from records.
Lord & Hogg
A short-term business partnership was formed between George Street photographers C Lords and John Hogg in August 1894. It was in Lord’s studio in Poole’s Buildings next to Lennon’s Hotel. Advertising and directories suggest Lord rather than Lords was the surname more often used in the brief partnership. One of their highlights of their association was an interior view of the Albert Street Wesleyan Church harvest festivities. It was taken on 10-inch by 12-inch plate with an hour exposure. The business functioned only until December 1894 when Lord appears to have left Brisbane.
Lucock, Charles Parker
Charles Lucock emigrated to Brisbane from England at the end of 1879, and lived with his uncle at Oxley Creek in Brisbane. Around 1886 he started a photography business with Arthur Urry. Known as Lucock & Urry the partnership used Lucock’s private Oxley address as their contact. The company moved then to Dalby and Roma before the partnership was dissolved in January 1888.
Charles Lucock took over the studio in Roma until March 1893 when he returned to Oxley. In Brisbane he appears to have worked for a studio rather than being self-employed. He moved to Inverell, New South Wales from 1897, where he ran a photography and garden seed business.
Lucock & Urry
This partnership was formed by Charles Lucock and Arthur Urry around 1886. While documentary evidence of the Brisbane operation has been difficult to locate, photographs exist wet-stamped with their name and Lucock’s Oxley residential address.
The partners worked in Dalby through the early months of 1887 before moving to Roma from October to December that year. The business arrangement was formally dissolved in January 1888.