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A seaman on SS SUEVIC, Sydney

Date: 1901-1928
Medium: Emulsion on nitrate film.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Nitrate negative
Object No: 00020307
Place Manufactured:Sydney
Related Place:Sydney,

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    Description
    SUEVIC was built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast for the White Star Line in 1901. It was the last and largest of the five Jubilee class ships built and was to service the Liverpool-Cape Town-Sydney route. SUEVIC had a capacity for 4oo passengers and was fitted with refrigerators.

    In 1907 SUEVIC was returning to Liverpool when the crew misjudged the distance to shore during a fog at night off Cornwall; as a result the ship ran aground onto rocks at full speed. All passengers and crew were rescued. The ship was lightened in an attempt to refloat it but the bow was stuck fast. White Star decided to cut the ship in half and salvage the stern. This was successfully completed and the company ordered a new bow section from Harland and Wolff. The ship was rebuilt and re-launched in January 1908.

    SUEVIC was requisitioned by the British Government during World War I but maintained its commercial route and was used for bringing provisions and troops from Australia to Europe.

    SUEVIC continued on the Sydney route after the war until 1928 when White Star sold it to a Norwegian company where it was renamed SKYTTEREN and served in the whaling fleet in Antarctic waters.

    In April 1940 Norway was occupied by Germany during World War II and SKYTTEREN was interned in a neutral Swedish port. In 1942, 10 ships attempted to leave the port and meet with British ships; only 2 made it. SKYTTEREN was scuttled by its crew so it would not fall into German hands.
    SignificanceThe Samuel J Hood photographic collection records an extensive range of maritime activity on Sydney Harbour, including sail and steam ships, crew portraits, crews at work, ship interiors, stevedores loading and unloading cargo, port scenes, pleasure boats and harbourside social activities from the 1890s through to the 1950s. They are also highly competent artistic studies and views - Hood was regarded as an important figure in early Australian photojournalism. Hood’s maritime photographs are one of the most significant collections of such work in Australia.
    HistorySamuel (Sam) John Hood (1872-1953) was born at Glenelg, Adelaide in 1872. His father, John Hood, was a photographer who worked for Duryea's Adelaide Photographic Company. In 1883 John moved with his family to Sydney, and in 1884 Sam followed his lead and began work for another photographer, William Tuttle in Tuttle's Studio, George Street, Sydney.

    In 1899 Sam Hood established his own portrait business at The Adelaide Photographic Co, 256 Pitt St, Sydney. Due to two fires in the studio in the early years he worked from his Balmain home, where he constructed a darkroom, and photographed the shipping trade and waterfront workers, which provided a steady income for his growing family. Hood would approach a ship on the assigned tug boat and photograph it as it lay off Sydney Heads. Once the ship reached the dock, Hood would board the vessel and approach the captain to allow him to sell the photographs of the ship to the crew. The captain authorised for the photographs to be paid for by the shipping company and then deducted a fee from the crew's wages.

    In addition to the photographs, Hood worked with ship artists to produce views of vessels under sail. In turn, Hood’s photographs of vessels with their sails furled were used by artists to paint ship portraits. Hood would approach the captain of a ship with a painting in oil or watercolour, and ask to borrow the rigging plan on the promise of a similar work.

    Hood is known to have worked with maritime artists Walter Barratt, Reginald Arthur Borstel, George Frederick Gregory, and John Allcot, who was reputedly hired from the MILTIADES after Hood spotted him peddling his wares on board.

    The State Library of NSW holds a significant collection of Hood photographs. The ANMM collection comprises of some 9,000 photographs of maritime subjects. It documents the end of the sailing ship era and the growing dominance of steam vessels. This technological advancement had implications for Hood’s business, as steamship crews were less inclined to request photographs of their vessels.

    During the 1910s, Hood had acquired cheap premises at the Dore Studio in the Queen Victoria Markets and continued to produce studio portraits, in addition to ship photography. However in 1918 Hood transferred to Dalny Studio at 124 Pitt Street, Sydney. Originally owned by Thomas Cleary, Dalny Studio had a contract to supply photographs to the newspapers Melbourne Argus and the Australasian. This soon also included the Daily Guardian, Daily Telegraph Pictorial, The Labour Daily, Daily News, Sun, and The Sydney Morning Herald. During the 1920s Hood's work moved from the social and sport pages of newspapers into mainstream reportage.

    During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Hood’s employees included his children Ted and Gladys, as well as several photographers who went onto successful careers as press photographers for various newspapers. At the outbreak of the Second World War Hood, aged 70, was recruited by the Ministry of News and Information to document the armed services. This period also witnessed the decline of formal studio portraits, which led the Hood studio to pursue more commercial commissions.

    Sam Hood continued working at his studio up to his death in June 1953. He had used the same modified Folmer & Schwing Graflex camera for over forty years.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: A seaman on SS SUEVIC, Sydney

    Primary title: STEAMER SS SUEVIC, CAPTAIN AND CREW

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