The William John Woodhouse Rephotography Project

The William John Woodhouse Rephotography Project  (WJWRP)  is the product of four years of research undertaken for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Visual Arts through Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney. This project was made possible through collaboration with the Nicholson Museum, The University of Sydney, which is home to the William John Woodhouse photographic archive. Conroy undertook the fieldwork for his rephotography project in mainland Greece from December 2009 to September 2010.

William John Woodhouse (1866-1937) was a classicist, ancient historian, archaeologist, and former Curator of the Nicholson Museum. Between 1889-1936, on numerous trips to Greece, Woodhouse took approximately 1350 large format glass plate negatives depicting sites in mainland Greece. The majority of the plates that survived appear to have been taken during Woodhouse's fellowship in Athens in 1890-92 and in 1893-94 as the Oxford University Craven Fellow.

The aim of the WJWRP was to relocate and accurately rephotograph a selection of photographs from the Woodhouse Photographic Archive. This involved the reidentification of the subjects depicted in the original photographs, as no descriptive captions had survived
— Rowan Conroy

Conroy chose to shoot in colour and to include more of the context surrounding the subject. White crop marks on the rephotographed images, shown below, denote the extent of the original frame of the Woodhouse image. 

L - Rowan Conroy, View of central Athens from the Acropolis. 5:46 pm, 5 June 2010, 7˚58”19 N 23˚43’39” E, 2010, pigment inkjet print on cotton rag paper, 110x195cm. R - William John Woodhouse, NM2007.55.7, View of Central Athens and Lycabettus, looking north, c.1908. Carbon Piezo print on cotton rag, 29.4x38.4cm. Reprinted 2011 from scan of original glass plate negative (16.5x21.6cm). Copyright Nicholson Museum, The University of Sydney.

The new photographs by Conroy and the old ones by Woodhouse were displayed side by side, as above, inviting the viewer to compare the changes and continuity of the objects in built landscape and environment.

The first exhibition of Conroy’s work from this series was held in August 2011 at Barometer Gallery, Sydney, as part of the PhD examination process. The exhibition presented a series of large digital prints with 168 plates in seven folios according to region: Attica (Volumes 1-4), Aetolia, Peloponnesos, and Delphi. View installation shots


Excerpts of the folios are being added to this site continuously and can be viewed here: (in progress - more to come)

  • Attica

  • Aetolia

  • Peloponnesos

  • Delphi