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Photo book to tell region’s story


A new project is set to chronicle the life of Newcastle and the Hunter Region over the last two decades.

Newcastle publishers Greg and Sylvia Ray’s latest project will tell the story of the area through photos taken between New Year’s Eve 1999 and this year.

The proposed book, Newcastle and the Hunter Region, by Ourselves: 2000 – 2020, will make use of submissions from Hunter residents to create the project.

Sylvia and Greg Ray.

It has been an idea of Sylvia’s for many years and, since the pair have had to shelve their other plans, they thought now would be the perfect time to bring it to life.

“The pandemic and lockdown has made it hard for us to complete the book we were already working on for 2020,” Greg says.

“That book required us to travel around the area a lot and, for obvious reasons, that is going to be a problem for a while.

“The second reason is that Sylvia has been wanting to publish a book of mostly digital photos by Hunter people for a long time.

“Our previous books have mostly come from old negatives we have gathered, and Sylvia has often wondered how well digital images will survive in the future when they have no physical negative as a backup.

“When hard-drives and flash storages fail, data is lost or corrupted and images can be lost forever.

“The book is a way of preserving at least a selection of photos from a period of time in Newcastle in print form.”

Greg hopes the book will recap all the significant changes the region has experienced.

“The changes in the region over the past 20 years have been massive,” he says.

“The period from New Year’s Eve 1999 to this year, 2020, has been so eventful in so many ways and we want to re-cap that period in pictures.”

Greg and Sylvia invite anyone to submit their favourite photos of the region.

Dust storm at Cameron Park, Newcastle, September 2009. Photo: Ian Wright

Greg adds that they don’t have to be technically perfect and can be taken with phone cameras or high-end SLRs.

“We hope to see images of iconic Hunter landscapes, major events that people attended, happy scenes of people having fun, weather photos, maybe a bit of sport, people working at their different types of jobs, [and] sad moody photos,” he says.

Submissions can be made through the Photo Time Tunnel website, emailed directly to [email protected], or shared through a file-sharing service.

All going well, the pair plan to print the book in November.

Visit their website for more information.

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