Marcel Safier  (contact)

Photographic Historian
Collector of Old Photographs, Old Postcards and Old Cameras

Brisbane, Australia



Please get in contact if you have anything for sale. Estate lots welcome.

I grew up in Surfers Paradise, Queensland on Australia’s Gold Coast and developed an early interest in photography through using my mother’s Kodak Box Brownie, gradually upgrading to better and more capable cameras. Having already begun trawling through my mother's and aunty's old photos in my early teens, at 15 my interest in was further stimulated by a gift of early family photographs and two old folding cameras from my mother's cousin. A year later I acquired some old photos from an antique shop and I have collected them along with old cameras ever since.

In 1984 I graduated in Medicine from the University of Queensland and later started working as a General Practitioner on Brisbane’s south side which I have done for the past 30+ years. In 1992 I purchased a Brisbane family photograph album and I became more curious about local photographers. It turned out the grand children of two of the photographers whose work was in the album were patients of mine. Since then I have keenly researched the lives of Brisbane photographers. This research was eventually extended to photographers from other parts of Queensland, then Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, France, South Africa, South America and the Pacific and contact with hundreds of descendants and relations of photographers as well as many other photographic historians and institutional curators around the world.

Friendships with fellow collectors and researchers Sandy Barrie in Queensland, Warwick Reeder (Melbourne - RIP), Robert (Bob) Noye (South Australia - RIP), Dennis O'Hoy (Bendigo), Ron Cosens (UK), John Hannavy (UK), Hugh Rayner (UK), Francois Boisjoly (Lyon - who has the largest collection of French cartes de visite), super-collector Matt Isenburg (USA - RIP), Jan Schimmelman, Cindy Motzenbekker, Rob McElroy and Gary Sartetzky (all USA) have greatly increased my enthusiasm and knowledge. My collection has grown to over 50,000 old photographs, 1500+ magic lantern slides, 2000+ glass plate negatives, 20,000+ postcards and an extensive reference library on photographic history. My collection is particularly strong in Australian and British carte de visite photos and cabinet photos, but also includes many British glass plate and other old cameras and pre-WW2 photographic catalogues.

I collaborate on and provide research support for Ron Cosens' massive and comprehensive database of Photographers of Great Britain and Ireland 1840-1940 website and Sandy Barrie's ongoing research for an updated edition of his directory "Australians Behind the Camera 1842-1945" last published in book form in 2002, that will hopefully be published in 2022. My research has been incorporated into the newly released Directory of South African photographers 1846-1915

I have spoken at many historical societies, collector’s groups, photographic conventions and on radio on aspects of photographic history and collecting, created photographic history websites, authored monographs on photographers, contributed to the Routledge “Encyclopedia of 19th Century Photography” and provided information and research support to authors for books on photographic history in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, France, India, China and the USA. I have attended a large array of photographic trade fairs, symposiums and conventions in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, France and the USA and look forward to attending many more.

Sit. Pose. Snap was an exhibition based on my collection and research into Brisbane photographers and
featured over 330 photos taken in Brisbane by professional and amateur photographers.

Museum of Brisbane, 3rd Floor, Brisbane City Hall
64 Adelaide Street, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
24 March-30 July 2017


Currently researching:

- Photographers of Brisbane 1850-1950 (for a future publication)
all 19th and early 20th century Australian photographers
- the history of the daguerreotype, ambrotype, tintype, carte de visite, cabinet photograph, stereoview and postcard in Australia
- postcards of the Gold Coast (Southport, Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Miami, Burleigh Heads, Palm Beach, Currumbin, Kirra, Coolangatta, Tweed Heads), Gold Coast Hinterland and Brisbane regions in Queensland, Australia
- World War 1 studio and camp photography
- Street, candid and seaside photography from the 1920s-1950s and its preceding history



Daguerreian Society
Photographic Historical Society of Canada
Cameraholics (Brisbane Camera Collectors Club)
Australian Photographic Collector’s Society
Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain
Queensland Card Collector’s Society Inc - webmaster

Internet memberships:
British Photohistory online forum

Facebook groups and pages:

Photographic History:

The Daguerreian Society

Carte de Visite and Cabinet Card Photography
Before Photography: Images and Apparatus
Photographers Imprints 1840-1960
RPPC - Real Photo Postcards
Vintage Picture Postcard Group (Worldwide)
Tintype Photography
Backdrops and Props in Photography Studios

Glass Negative Collectors
Photo Booth & Arcade Photographs
Before Photography: Images and Apparatus
Playthings:Toys and Dolls in Photography 1840-1940
Civil War Faces
The Magic Lantern Society of the US and Canada
Canadian Photographic History
Sociedad Iberoamericana de Historia de la Fotografía
History of Photography European Network
Storia Della Fotografia
Danske fotografer i udlandet (Danish photographers Abroad) 1840-1914

Camera Related:
Cameraholics (admin)
Wood and Brass Cameras
Photographic Preservation Society of South Australia
Vintage Camera Collectors
The Antique & Vintage Movie Camera Appreciation Page

Photographers of Brisbane, Australia 1850-1950

Was your ancestor or relation a Brisbane photographer? If so, please get in contact as I would be happy to exchange information. I have been researching the lives of Australian photographers and collecting examples of their work for over 28 years.    
Street Photographers of Australia 1920s-1950s

Was your ancestor or relation a street or candid photographer working anywhere in Australia for firms such as Leicagraph?
Please get in contact.

19th and early 20th century Australian,
New Zealand and Pacific photographs
(especially cartes de visite plus tintypes, daguerreotypes, stereoviews, glass magic lantern slides, glass negatives, old family and other photo albums

WANTED: Dallmeyer, Ross, Beck, Wray, Optimus, Voigtlander and other brands of brass camera lenses, wood bellows cameras by British manufacturers such as Meagher, George Hare, W. W. Rouch, Houghtons, Ensign, Butcher, Sanderson, Thornton Pickard, Dolland, Sands and Hunter, Perken, Son and Rayment, Chapman and magic lantern projectors

ALSO WANTED: old (pre 1930) British PHOTOGRAPHIC CATALOGUES, photographic journals, books and British Journal of Photography almanacs

WANTED: Postcards of Australians serving in WW1 and WW2 with accompanying letters and documents etc. keenly sought

WANTED: Gold Coast (Queensland) and Brisbane photographs
and postcards sought from the 19th century up to the 1980s.                  
As one of the biggest private collectors of antique and vintage photographs, old postcards, old photo and postcards albums and
 old wooden cameras in Australia, I welcome offers of old and interesting photographic items that you have for sale including
single items, collections, accumulations and deceased estates. 

Donations of unwanted photographs, postcards, albums and camera equipment for my collection
are also gratefully accepted or a contribution made to your favourite charity. All postage costs paid.


The Gem and Carte de Visite Tintype
history of an under-researched and often derided photographic form

Queensland Card Collector's Society Home Page
I collect old postcards and am a long time member of and webmaster for the Queensland Card Collectors Society which is a club for collectors of postcards, cigarette cards and trade cards. 

Photographers of Great Britain & Ireland 1840-1940
The most definitive listing of photographers assembled anywhere based on the massive photograph collection of Ron Cosens, augmented with research by Sandy Barrie and I.


Last updated 30 July 2021. 
Email:; or write to Marcel Safier, PO Box 239, Holland Park, Queensland, 4121, Australia