Black and White Photography


Port Jackson Shark picture story

Oct 9th, 2019 • Stories

This Port Jackson Shark, July 1990 was found on Cockburn Sound, south of Fremantle, WA, dead and discarded, but still beautiful.

Making the picture was easy enough, a couple of Redhead lights bounced off the ceiling, camera Sinar Norma, Rodenstock Apo-Ronar 240mm, and on Kodak TMY film. Our studio was originally a photographic studio dating from about 1897 and the part above the stage was angled for skylight glass, but later covered in corrugated iron painted white.

After the photography the shark was left in a developing dish under the studio stage to complete the drying process.  But the shark was not as dry as it seemed, and continued to release a subtle aroma of decaying shark innards.  On our second floor level this was fine, as we tended to keep the windows open on warm days to let the Freo Doctor, a clearing wind, through.

What was really happening was that the shark innard effluvium was much heavier than air, and sank through the floor boards to the shops below.  On the first floor below the studio was a costume hire shop and on the ground floor a lunch bar selling hot meat rolls.  The two owner dudes came up to find the source of the scent, but on the elevated level of WA Filmworkers there was nothing to smell.

The shark, when properly dry, was given to Angela Rosen in exchange for a treasured etching of a dead fish.


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