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Henri Marie Joseph Mallard was the Australian born son of French parents who had settled in Balmain in the 1880s. Mallard retained a French accent due to his early education at home.

In 1900 Mallard offered himself to Harrington’s photographic suppliers as a lure to the French Consular trade which was going to a rival firm, Baker & Rouse, with Frenchman “Mons” Perier on staff. Mallard remained with Harrington’s (later Kodak Pty Ltd) until his retirement in 1952.

Mallard, who had been attracted to photography by the displays of equipment and pictures in Harrington’s window, soon learnt the process and was exhibiting in local salons by 1904.

In 1913 Mallard married and took up a position in the Melbourne branch where he encouraged pictorial photography by showing a selection of John Kauffmann’s 1914 one-man show at the firm’s showrooms.

Mallard returned to Sydney in l9l6 and by 1917 had joined the Sydney Camera Circle and was regularly assisting the Photographic Society of New South Wales with many technical lecture/demonstrations.

Mallard was a genial personality who used his expertise and central position in Harrington’s to encourage several generations of amateurs and professionals in pursuing the art or craft of photography.

The most notable instance was his demonstration of a movie camera to his friend, the young Frank Hurley, who was going to the Antarctic.

Mallard’s own role in Australian cinema is yet to be investigated. He is best known for the film of the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, undertaken on his own initiative.

Despite a strong interest in film and documentary work, Mallard was faithful to the canons of the pictorial style and was making delicate bromoils at the same time as editing the Bridge film.

Exhibition prints from any Bridge negatives would most likely have been treated like plate 52 (Cables, 1930) - a bromoil.

The Bridge negatives were donated to the Australian Centre for Photography and published in association with Sun Books in 1978.

above text based on Gaël Newton's Silver & Grey
Angus and Roberston, Australia 1980



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