Black and white 5" x 4" negative showing a very large group of female textile workers sewing garments on industrial sewing machines in a large workshop at a textiles factory in the 1950s.
This image is part of the Laurie Richards Collection at Museum Victoria comprising approximately 85,000 negatives taken by the Melbourne based Laurie Richards Studio between the 1950s -1970s. These negatives are all mostly large format [5"x 4"/ 12.5 x 10 cm], black and white images, though a significant number are in colour. The many photographic jobs that were undertaken in the course of thirty years are itemised in a set of log books, copies of which are also held by Museum Victoria.
Laurie Richards was a professional photographer who began his career as a photo-journalist, working for the Advertiser newspaper in Adelaide, and the Argus and the Herald newspapers in Melbourne. In 1953, he opened his own business and set up a photographic studio at his home at 4 Tower Avenue, Alphington, an inner suburb of Melbourne. At its peak, in the late 1960s, the Laurie Richards Studio was one of Melbourne's pre-eminent commercial photographic studios, employing twelve photographers. The Laurie Richards Studio worked mainly in advertising and public relations, and had a broad clientele which included commercial companies, government institutions and the entertainment industry.
Description of Content
View of a large workshop with many women workers seated at long work benches, sewing garments. Many of them are using Singer sewing machines. In the middle of the room are shelves holding stacks of garment segments, waiting to be sewn. Electric light globes in shades hang from the gantry overhead, as do exhaust or cooling fans.
Black and white 5" x 4" cellullose acetate negative.
Because of the breadth of both the subject matter photographed and the diverse businesses which commissioned the work, and the excellent documentation that accompanies the collection, the Laurie Richards Collection at Museum Victoria is an invaluable record of Melbourne’s commercial and industrial past and as such gives an insight into the social history of that period.
Place & Date Depicted
Negative, 5 in. x 4 in., Black & White
Type of item
103 mm (Width), 100 mm (Height)