Portrait of our elders: Michael Aird

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Michael Aird, a curator at the Queensland Museum, has compiled a fascinating pictorial account of Australian Aborigines.

Taken by European photographers, these images display not only the diversity of Aboriginal Australia at the turn of the century, but the racial attitudes and ethnocentrism of the time. The photos are compiled from Museums and Libraries and are well researched. Many portraits show the subject wearing a 'breast plate' which (to this viewer) resembles the ID number of a modern police criminal photograph. Irrespective of the intent of the photographer's commission, there is a powerful undercurrent and range of emotion conveyed and captured through these photographs.

Portraits of our elders by Michael Aird