This portrait of Archibald James Campbell was taken during a trip to far north Queensland in 1916. A well-known naturalist and ornithologist, Campbell was one of the first in Australia to employ nature photography in recording his fieldwork. He was also a great proponent of enviormental protection.
Campbell's interest in nature was aroused in childhood at Werribee, Victoria where he lived with his grandparents until the age of 10. His first love was egg-collecting, and his general interest in birds was further inspired by the study of John Gould's works at the Public Library. He was for many years active in the Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria. By 1896 his collection of eggs represented 500 species.
Campbell initiated the first of several dinners which led to the formation in 1901 of the (Royal) Australasian Ornithologists' Union; he was president in 1909 and 1928 and co-editor of its journal, The Emu, for thirteen years. Campbell published widely and was an early advocate for the protection of the Australian bush. Campbell's egg collection, along with his vast image collection, is housed at Museum Victoria.
Around the time this photograph was taken, Campbell published a reflection on his time as a Field Collector in The Emu, the Journal of Royal Australasian Ornithologist Union. In it he reflected on what kept him focused for so many years. "To accomplish any great object in life, there must be a passion. You cannot materialize one's passion - be it music, painting, or nature-study - any more than you can value one's artistic temperament in terms of pound, shillings and pence."