The Local Photographer
Ernest Albert Winter (1880-1967) founded Burnie’s best known photographic studio in 1909. Winter named the business the Tasma Studio and he specialised in portraiture, postcards and illustrations for tourist publications. He also sold cameras and photographic equipment and developed and processed snapshot films. Although Ernest Winter was not the earliest photographer in town (Frederick Frith took the earliest photographs on the North West coast in 1858) his photographic studio was a part of Burnie’s social fabric for over ninety years.
Ernest Winter originally came from Victoria. He was not one of Burnie’s early arrivals but he soon developed an interest in the district’s past. He had the foresight to take a series of photographs of Burnie soon after he arrived. He also printed postcards from earlier photographers’ negatives he had collected which dated back to about 1880.
The Photographer’s studio in the streetscape is based on Ernest Winter’s business. His portrait studio in 1909, with its large glass plate negative camera, sitter’s chair and oil-cloth backdrops, would have been much the same as a studio of the 1890s. In fact, the process of taking studio portraits remained much the same until the end of World War II. The large camera on display in the streetscape is the same one used by Ernest Winter in 1909. As well as being used in the studio, it travelled the length of the North West coast and photographed the majority of local portraits and weddings for many years.