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Sam Hood : photographic collection, ca. 1920-1955

Sam Hood : photographic collection, ca. 1920-1955
State Library of New South Wales - Mitchell Library
Date Range
c. 1920 - c. 1955

Samuel J. Hood's (1872-1953) (Hood claimed to be born 1870 but South Australian Birth Index gives date as 20 Aug 1872) career as a photographer began in the 1880s. He ran a successful business in ships portraits (these negatives are now held by the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney) and portraits of people in the late nineteenth - early twentieth century. The State Library has little representation of this period. In 1918 he acquired the Dalny Studio at 124 Pitt Street, and began to expand his business into press photography, providing photographs for the Sydney Mail, the Australasian, the Daily Guardian, the Daily Telegraph Pictorial, the Labor Daily, the Sun, the Daily News and the Sydney Morning Herald. Press photography increasingly came to dominate his business, and in 1934 he joined the Labor Daily for a short time as a full-time photographer, engaging other staff to look after his studio.
By the mid-1930s most newspapers employed their own photographers, and Hood's commissions from the papers began to decline. Hood sought other kinds of commissions, and won a number of long term advertising and commercial contracts. He contributed a number of photographs of Sydney buildings and streets to Building, Construction and Australasian Engineer during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Hood also had extensive contacts in the entertainment industry, who called upon him to document celebrity events and stars, as well as theatre advertising. Throughout his career he worked at the stock-in-trade for commercial photographers: portraits, weddings and even funerals.
A number of photographers worked for Dalny Studio: some of these include Ernie Bowen, Gus Daley, Jack Lazern, Lethington Maitland as well as Sam's own children Gladys and Ted.
The Library first purchased a large collection of negatives from Gladys Hood in 1972. This collection (which included nitrate negatives which have subsequently been copied) at DG 0N4 & NCY 28-61 was transferred to a videodisc in 1991 and each image indexed individually. Ted Hood assisted with the indexing; images were also identified using surviving studio registers. The videodisc, known as the Home & Away disc (or simply the Hood collection) was digitised in 1996, and mounted on the Internet, with upgraded index records, via PICMAN in December 1998.
Another collection from Sam Hood's studio was purchased in 1993 from Gladys Hood's descendants. This comprised 7300 photoprints (PXE 789) and ca. 12000 negatives (ON 204). Digitisation of important photographs in PXE 789 began Mar 2002, but ON 204 has not been digitised and must be viewed at the Library.

For detailed biographical information about photographer Sam Hood see: Sydney exposures : through the eyes of Sam Hood & his Studio, 1925-1950 / Alan Davies. Sydney : State Library of New South Wales, 1991.

Collection comprises - photoprints and photonegatives

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