In April-May 1975, young Australian photographer Oliver Strewe visited East Timor to photograph the land, its people and the optimism and excitement engendered by the impending end of Portuguese colonial rule.
Using Jose Ramos-Horta’s living room floor as a base in Dili, Oliver travelled widely in the countryside to take historic and memorable black and white images. Many of his pictures were used in the mid-1970s in East Timor solidarity publications worldwide.
A small sample of his images from that time can be viewed in the Oliver Strewe Album on the Timor Archives pages on Picasa.
In these internet days, it is common to see Timor images circulated widely without knowledge of, or credit to, their origins or creator. That is certainly the case with Oliver Strewe’s images as well as those of other well-known pre-invasion professional photographers like Elaine Briere, Bob Hannan and Penny Tweedie.
These images will become much more valuable in the future if we can go back to their creators and learn something from them of the circumstances of their creation along with surviving data on where and when the pictures were taken in the first place.
The aim of this post is to begin to restore the connection between Timor images and their creators. I hope to do more of this over the coming months.
Note on images
The Oliver Strewe Album images are reproduced here with Oliver’s permission. The images are of restricted size – big enough to appreciate contents, but small enough to discourage unauthorised use.
All requests for access/use of higher resolution images should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or see Oliver’s website.