Tag Archives: Brisbane CBD

Street photographs – a gift from the past

1940s, Brisbane – you’re walking along a city street and suddenly a smiling photographer in a suit and tie hands you a card that reads: Your photograph has just been taken. Then he moves away to find his next mark. The following day you hand over the card at a photo kiosk to see your image and maybe order a copy…

And most did. From the 1930s to the 1950s especially, city street photography was a big craze when personal cameras were rare, with these inexpensive photographs bought by thousands of people each week.

You may recognise the fellow in this photograph – Nonno Anni – taken in the Brisbane CBD circa late 1940s. Considering he spent most daylight (and night-time) hours, 7 days a week, working at he and Nanna Francesca’s fruit shop and milk bar, my guess is she’s minding it while he’s ducked out to get something. (I’m wondering if he’s cutting through ANZAC Square returning from the main Queen Street area back toward their shop in Ann Street.) Would love to know what was in the parcel!

I only recently found out this photograph existed with Dad discovering it in an old box. It’s such a gift from the past when someone you love, long gone, suddenly appears going about their everyday life in a way you’ve never seen before. What a wonderful practice street photographers had in capturing that era. Wish I could credit the photographer. If anyone knows of Brisbane street photographers of that time, I’d love to know. Zoë xx


Filed under art + photographs