Kerry, Charles (Henry)
- David P. Millar
(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....