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Article

Kyla Mackenzie

(b Nelson, 1949).

New Zealand photographer. Aberhart became a leading photographer in New Zealand from the 1970s with his distinctive 8×10 inch black-and-white photographs, taken with a 19th-century large format Field Camera. He is particularly well known for his images of disappearing cultural history, often melancholic in tone, in New Zealand.

Aberhart’s use of an ‘outmoded’ process for picturing subjects in apparent decay or decline paradoxically re-invigorated them. He was inspired by the documenting traditions of New Zealand’s itinerant 19th-century photographers. His generally provincial subjects included vacant architectural interiors and exteriors, such as domestic houses, Masonic lodges, churches, Maori meeting-houses, and cemeteries, war memorials, museum exhibits, landscapes, and horizons (see A Distant View of Taranaki, 14 February 2009, Auckland, A.G.). Aberhart also produced several compelling portraits, especially those from the late 1970s and early 1980s of his daughters (e.g. Kamala and Charlotte in the Grounds of the Lodge, Tawera, Oxford, 1981; Christchurch, NZ, A.G.)....

Article

Robert Smith

(John)

(b Guernsey, Channel Islands, Feb 28, 1837; d Melbourne, Feb 13, 1918).

Australian photographer of Guernsey birth. After his arrival in South Australia c. 1858, he pursued his interest in photography while working as a hairdresser, becoming a professional photographer in Adelaide in 1867. Economic recession led him to move in 1870 to the neighbouring colony of Victoria, where he worked as hairdresser and photographer in the goldfields settlement of Talbot. By 1871 he was able to open a studio in the larger town of Bendigo, achieving commercial success with carte-de-visite portraits and local views. He had an interest in art, having tried his hand at painting, and became a precursor of Pictorial photography, converting the formally posed group portrait into the conversation piece and producing landscape scenes with human interest genre subjects and picturesque effects to meet a growing nationalistic demand.

To take advantage of his increasing success Caire moved to Melbourne in 1876 to exploit its rapid urban growth as subject-matter, and to use it as a base for forays into the countryside, seeking novel or spectacular subjects. Expansion of the railway system and his adoption of the dry plate process gave him greater mobility, and he was able to photograph increasingly remote localities, culminating in an expedition to Mt Buffalo, in ...

Article

Robert Smith

(Pierce)

(b Wellington, New Zealand, March 30, 1878; d Sydney, June 19, 1953).

Australian photographer of New Zealand birth (see fig.). His father, Pierce Mott Cazneau (1849–1928), was an English-born New Zealand photographer, who became manager of a photographic portraiture studio in Adelaide c. 1889 and took his family to South Australia. While still at school Harold Cazneaux assisted his father and in 1897 joined the same studio as an artist-retoucher. He was mainly interested in becoming an artist and attended evening classes conducted by Harry P. Gill. Acquaintance with the influence of the English Pictorial photography movement in the 1890s made him aware of the medium’s artistic potential. Dissatisfied with his routine occupation in Adelaide, c. 1904 he joined a studio in Sydney where the work was similar, but a higher salary enabled him to buy his own camera and begin creative photography on his own account, including a lasting preoccupation with pictorial celebration of the diversity of everyday life in the city....

Article

David P. Millar

(Henry)

(b Monaro Uplands, NSW, April 3, 1858; d Sydney, May 26, 1928).

Australian photographer. He worked as an operator in a carte-de-visite business in Sydney. When popularity for this photographic form of portraiture collapsed in the 1870s, he turned to a new and eventually lucrative business: scenic views of rural and urban Australia. Coinciding with the invention of the collodion dry plate process, which gave him more freedom of movement, he used the recently expanded railway system to reach places of photographic interest. By the 1890s his work dominated the photographic view business in Sydney; he had become more of a businessman than a photographer, employing several touring operators to meet his commitments.

The severe depression of the 1890s forced many photographers to close their businesses, and the demand for views dwindled alarmingly. Kerry, sensing that the growing postcard trade could become the basis for commercial advancement, began to produce photographic postcards. By 1910 Kerry & Co emerged as Australia’s largest publishers of postcards. Using presses in Germany to print his huge orders, and operating out of a large, four-storey building in Sydney, he had the income to indulge other interests such as horse racing, skiing and fishing. Kerry’s photographs, and those of his assistants, were avowedly commercial in subject-matter; they showed, through a misty-eyed nationalism, the heroic toil of settlers breaking in the land and the optimistic growth of Australia’s principal cities. Kerry and his company confirmed a young nation’s perception about itself, with images that have become visual icons of Victorian colonial Australia....

Article

Helen Ennis

Photography in Australia has many parallels with that in other countries but it also has many significant differences that are the result of specific historical conditions and circumstances. Features in common include the rapid acceptance of photographic technologies, the importance of portraiture and the view of trade in the 19th century, the engagement with international styles such as Pictorialism, the prominent role of illustrative and advertising photography from the 1920s onwards, and the impact of modernism, Post-modernism, and post-colonialism. These features are not unique to Australia—they can be seen as manifestations of photography’s globalizing impulses—but nonetheless they do have a particular local or national inflection. Equally important are the aspects of Australian photographic practice that are different to photography elsewhere. Chief among these is the photography associated with relations between indigenous and settler Australians. Photographs of Aboriginal people were prominent in the 19th century and photographs by Aboriginal people have been central to Australian photographic practice and the broader visual arts since the early 1980s. Also conspicuous is an orientation towards the external world and the prevalence of realist approaches, which can be related to materialist preoccupations and anti-intellectual traditions that have underpinned national life in some periods....

Article

(b Hobart, Aug 27, 1836; d Sydney, July 17, 1914).

Australian painter, printmaker and photographer of French descent. He studied painting at Cambridge House in Hobart, where he won the prize for drawing in 1849. Between 1850 and 1872 he worked as a draughtsman for the Tasmanian Survey Office, receiving additional instruction in art from Frank Dunnett (1822–91), a retired Scottish painter and engraver. In the mid-1860s he began exhibiting his paintings and made his first lithographed views, mostly of the River Derwent and its environs. In 1870 he received a bronze medal for his photographs at the Intercolonial Exhibition in Sydney. In 1872 he left his job and became Australia’s first native-born professional painter and a major artist working in the 19th-century Romantic landscape tradition, capturing the form and spirit of the vast Australian landscape. He spent much of the 1870s accompanying organized expeditions into the central and south-western wilderness of Tasmania in search of compelling subjects to paint. In ...

Article

Janda Gooding

(b Melbourne, Aug 31, 1861; d Melbourne, Sept 4, 1946).

Australian painter, printmaker and curator, who worked mostly in Western Australia. While working in the photographic trade, Pitt Morison studied part time (1881–9) at the National Gallery School in Melbourne. He formed a friendship with the artist Tom Humphrey (1858–1922) and soon after he became associated with, and exhibited with, a group that included Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton. The group, later known as the Heidelberg school, painted en plein air in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, around Box Hill and Heidelberg, experimenting with new theories of light and colour derived from the French Impressionists. Pitt Morison travelled to Europe in 1890 and studied at the Académie Julian in Paris under Jules Lefebvre and William Bouguereau..

Pitt Morison was forced to return to Australia in 1893, due to the collapse of Victorian banks and the subsequent loss of his income. A job in the photographic trade in Bunbury offered him an opportunity to move and he arrived in Western Australia in ...