Geoscience Reference
In-Depth Information
Historical Photographs Project assessed an extensive collection of images and
drew many conclusions about the apparent decline - and occasionally the
apparent improvement - of particular coral reefs, Wachenfeld (1995) argued
that comparing historical photographic images with re-photographed, modern
locations is too problematic for firm conclusions to be drawn about changes
in coral reefs. Moreover, Wachenfeld's (1995) analysis suggested that different
environmental changes had occurred, in different places, and that no overall
trend could be identified. Therefore, in my research, the collection of data
from historical photographs did not take place specifically for the purpose of re-
photographing reefs, although some photographs were collected if they provided
clear evidence of human influence on the coral reefs, islands and marine wildlife
of the Great Barrier Reef. For example, historical photographs document the
recreational activity of turtle-riding by tourists at resort islands.
Historical photographs were consulted initially at the collection of the
Historical Photographs Project, held by GBRMPA, in Townsville. Many other
collections of photographs were searched at the major libraries; in particular,
the historical photographs collection at the JOL was searched exhaustively, and
approximately 2,000 images were surveyed. In addition to the photographs at
the JOL, other historical photograph collections were searched at the Mitchell
Library, the NLA and the QSA. Many of the images in those collections that
were relevant to the Great Barrier Reef had already been collected elsewhere;
however, the search process revealed many inaccuracies in the identification,
labelling and cataloguing of images: numerous images were identified with
incorrect locational information, and some photographs were identified
differently in different collections. Many images lacked information about the
location or date of the photograph, so were of limited use in my research. Cross-
verification of photograph details was carried out as far as possible.
In addition to the public collections of historical photographs, private holdings
were also obtained during the process of recording oral history interviews.
Informants were asked to provide relevant photographs of the Great Barrier
Reef if they were able to do so. Some informants provided extensive, annotated
collections of private photographs that were used during or after the interviews.
One informant was able to compare their own photographs with published
images of the same locations. Another use of historical photographs in interviews
required informants to identify or discuss images, which sometimes prompted
informants to recall, discuss or explain further details of their evidence. Finally,
while the re-photography of reefs for which historical photographs exist was not
an aim of my research, the re-photographed evidence of changes at Heron Island
and at Low Isles, collected by Isobel Bennett, was used (with her permission)
in my research since it provided unambiguous evidence of significant changes;
some original images of reefs - such as Yule Point reefs - were also collected as
they provided evidence of the current condition of those reefs.
Search WWH ::

Custom Search