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William Short


active Australia 1863–90s –

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    carte de visite, hand coloured
    9.6 x 5.8 cm image; 10.2 x 6.2 cm mount card
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased 2014
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    William Short

    Works in the collection


  • About

    William Short was a professional photographer and painter. Born in England, he came to Australia with his family in 1852, who settled in Melbourne. After struggling to find a market for his oil paintings, Short opened a photographic studio in 1863, advertising a new technique for reducing exposure times that was suitable for photographing babies. Short was more successful as a photographer than a painter and maintained his Melbourne business into the 1880s, although he was also active near Bendigo, Victoria, in the late 1880s and early 1890s.

    A carte de visite is a stiff card of about 10 x 6.4 cm, with an attached paper photograph, invented in 1854 by André-Adolphe-Eugène Disderi. They were introduced into Australia in 1859 by William Blackwood with albums arriving in 1860, aiding the collection and distribution of multiple cartes. Cartes were usually portraits and were made by the millions worldwide. Multi-lens, or ‘multiplying’ cameras were introduced in the 1860s, which were capable of producing from 2 to 32 images in quick succession, dramatically increasing the number of cartes de visite that could be made from a single photographic plate. They were easily reproduced by making paper contact prints from the glass plates, which were then cut and pasted to card.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication