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Sydney, ca. 1885-1890 / photographed by Arthur K. Syer1935

by Syer, Arthur

Arthur Syer, brother of the artist Walter Syer, was a friend of cartoonist Phil May and supplied him with 'snapshot' photographs of ordinary people in daily attire. Phil May, renowned for the life-like quality of his illustrations, used the photographs to impart an authentic atmosphere to his cartoons. Syer's low angle photographs were taken surreptitiously, using a 'detective camera'. Such cameras, sometimes concealed in parcels or portmanteau, were made possible with the invention of the dry plate in 1880. 

'Phil May and his photography', Australian Magazine, 1908. pp 668-677

Some Syer photographs reproduced in: 'Old Books, Old Friends, Old Sydney' / by James R. Tyrrell (1952)