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Biography

(SILVER AND GREY ONLINE)


MAY AND MINNA MOORE

May C. 1880-1930

Minna 1883-1957

May and Minna Moore were New Zealand born sisters who established a photographic studio in Wellington in 1908. May, who had attended Elam Art School in Auckland, instigated the studio, and Minna, a teacher, joined her and later ran the studio after May had moved to Sydney around 1913.

May Moore had been encouraged to move by the success of the Moore studio’s portraits of theatre personalities in New Zealand and continued this specialty from a new studio in The Bulletin building in Sydney. Minna Moore followed her sister to Sydney about 1913 but after a brief period of partnership when their work was signed “May and Minna Moore”, moved to Melbourne and set up a studio in the Auditorium building, Collins Street.

In 1916 Minna Moore married William Tainish, a poet and businessman and gave up her studio in 1918. May married not long after her arrival in Sydney but continued to operate the studio until the late 1920s with the assistance of her husband, a Sydney dentist. Harry Wilkes.

May and Minna Moore did not exhibit in the pictorial salons. Their work was often published in magazines and was distinctive for their simple but dramatic treatment of portraiture.

In particular the Moore studio was recognisable by the use of a device known as “Rembrandt” lighting, where a pencil of light fell on one side of the face with the rest in shadow as in plate 24 (L. Hopkins c.1914).

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


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