When it gets cold outside and you are looking for things to do in comfort and out of the winter rains and fogs, come to the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, to enjoy an amazing glimpse into the private lives of Australians in the 19th century. By Anna Hager The exhibition, titled ‘Husbands & Wives’, open to visitors from May 6 – July 11, 2010, will award you with an unusual way to experience Australian couples and family life from over a hundred years ago.

Through an assortment of rare portrait photographs, drawn from the National Portrait Gallery collection and from other collections in Canberra and interstate, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in a very special and significant time in Australia’s past.

Apart from amazing photographic accounts of this special era in Australian history, the exhibition also includes drawings, paintings, miniatures and silhouettes of people and their lives back then.

The exhibition shows accounts of daily family life, portraying everyday scenes and expressing feelings of love, marriage and society.

Something you should definitely keep in mind when visiting the exhibition is the significance and importance of photography at the time these uniquely beautiful exemplars were taken.

Photography then, was something new and exciting. Having your families’ photo taken, was not only a very special and rare occurrence, but also a lengthy process, by which you had to stand for long times and keep your position until the photo was finally exposed and taken.

Exhibition curator Joanna Gilmour says that “early portrait photographs were one-off images, beautifully presented and designed to be cherished, which is one of the reasons they provide us with a key to the sensibilities and attitudes of the time.”

The exhibition shows accounts of daily family life, portraying everyday scenes and expressing feelings of love, marriage, sex and society.

Through the immediacy of photography, these objects are able to show us a very real and intimate account of life and family relations in those days, especially compared to traditional portraiture we might have seen from this era before.

Details //  Husbands & Wives Exhibition
Where //  National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
When //  From May 6 – July 11, 2010
Contact //  www.portrait.gov.au