T. J. Nevin’s 1870s mugshots the inspiration for 21st century artworks

“The images presented are inspired by photographic images of the prisoners of Port Arthur taken by the Tasmanian photographer Thomas Nevin in the 1870s. The photos were used as mug-shots, legal instruments taken for the police and not meant to be ethnographic artifacts. The images are, however, strikingly beautiful with the expressions and poses of the prisoners allowing us a window into the lives of these men. When Nevin’s photos were first exhibited together at the Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston in 1977 the curator, Mr. John McPhee, noted; ‘These photographs are among the most moving and powerful images of the human condition.’ Through the paintings presented, you can sense the emotions of these long-deceased spirits; their presence is represented as a ghostly imprint on the golden surface of this vast and beautiful land.” – Lisa Sharoun

“I never lost the look of the man” – Kenneth Pomlett
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