To Walk Under Palm Trees

The Germans in Samoa: Snapshots from Albums


The Germans in Samoa 71


At last we get to see Hofmann’s camera, which produced glass plate negatives. He set it up in front of the Stunzner children then moved sideways to shoot the children with another (probably sheet film) camera. Albi is entertaining his siblings. Mary Ellen hovers in the cabin doorway.

Glass plate cameras were fading out of use at this time because they were so bulky, but in the hands of an expert could produce brilliant results. Glass plates with dry gelatine emulsion were carried to site along with the camera. These plates were in light-proof sleeves. The photographer had a glass focusing plate on the back of the camera that he used to get the focus right. Then the photographic glass plate sleeve was clipped on or inserted and a dark slide removed to ready the plate for the exposure. It is probable that Hofmann developed his own plates in a darkroom on Motuihe rather than sending them away to Auckland for processing.

Credit: Stunzner Family Collection

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