SALONS 1900 - 1920S
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Kauffmann, Harold Cazneaux and the Salons
enthusiasm for John Kauffmann’s work expressed in newspaper
reviews, and his success at local and interstate exhibitions
at the turn of the century, indicate he was a leading exponent
of the new Pictorial style. Whether Kauffmann’s example
was the single cause of the efflorescence of art photography
in Adelaide in these years is not certain. Both Joyner and Radford
enjoyed similar success after his arrival but developed styles
slightly different to Kauffmann’s forte of landscape ‘interpretations’.
work certainly stimulated the South Australian Photographic
interest in Pictorial work and he is reputed to have exhibited
examples of British work by A. Horsley-Hinton
and H. P. Robinson(1). Kauffmann
was active in the Society but was not a natural leader or proselytiser
new style. In
his long subsequent career Kauffmann wrote no articles and
gave no lecture demonstrations to societies.
1909 Kauffmann moved to Melbourne, where he mounted a one-person
show at the
invitation of the Victorian Amateur Photographic
Association(2). It was not
until 1914 that Kauffmann was listed as a professional photographer
with a studio in Collins Street.
Prior to this he may have worked for his family’s businesses
in Adelaide and Melbourne. Possibly a modest private income
assisted him, for Kauffmann was one of the new model of professional
photographers catering to a select market for art photography.
seems not to have worked in the field of glamour portraiture
of society or theatre personalities established
by older studios,
such as Falk’s, or other Pictorialists like Fred
Radford and L. W. Appleby in Sydney were developing, nor
taken commissions for the views trade. He did accept a
number of pupils
in later years and illustrated a book on the Sunraysia
district around 1920(3). Kauffmann
charged as much as ten guineas for his prints and may have
been the only photographer of his
to survive largely on sales of his work in the manner of
solo exhibition of 1910 was not the first such show,
for Harold Cazneaux had held his One-Man Show at the New
South Wales Photographic Society’s rooms in Hamilton
Street, Sydney, in March 1909. With the emphasis placed
on personal vision
during these years in all the arts, one-person shows
were a natural extension of aesthetic philosophies which
was ‘nature seen through a temperament’.
Pure art exhibitions, separate from the mixed displays
type exhibitions, were a feature of the art scene from
the 1890s on, as was the gradual appearance of commercial
Arthur Streeton’s Sydney Sunshine exhibition of
1896 was one of the earliest one-person shows by a painter(5).
Sydney in 1904 the Royal Art Society of New South
Wales had shown gum-bichromates by L. W. Appleby (1872—1951)
and in 1907 the rival New South Wales Society of Artists
work by Arthur H. Adams and Appleby(6). These
were some of the earliest acceptances of photographic
art societies. Adams was editor of The Lone Hand magazine,
and Appleby had introduced Pictorial style portraiture
in the new
gum and carbon processes to his Sydney studio some
years before. Appleby’s 1905 gum portrait of
Livingstone Hopkins, the graphic artist for the Bulletin magazine,
was particularly well
W. Lindt may also have held a show in 1909 that Blamire Young
reviewed as ‘The Photographer — His
Place in Art — The School of Lindt’(8),
exhibition effectively marks the beginning of this
type of presentation of the photographer as an artist.
Cazneaux (1878—1953) was born in New Zealand, where his
parents operated a photographic studio. The family moved to Adelaide
about 1889 where his father, Pierce Cazneau (sic), worked as
manager-operator at Hammer and Co studios. Harold joined the
same firm in 1897 as an artist-retoucher. It was not until he
saw the Pictorial works in South Australian Photographic Society
exhibitions of 1902-1903, that Cazneaux perceived the creative
potential in photography, which he described as 'a new beauty
beyond anything I had dreamed of in terms of the camera(9)'. Cazneaux’s
father had never been an independent exhibiting photographer
and by the 1890s studio portraiture was highly formularised leaving
little scope for employees to develop any individuality. Field
operators such as those employed by Charles Kerry’s studio
in Sydney were perhaps a little better able to develop their
who had developed an early love for the bush and the outdoors,
hated the studio work and dreamed of being an artist. He had
been attending art classes at night run by H. P. Gill at the
School of Art and Design. However, once he had seen the Pictorialists’ work
on show in the same building, he abandoned any aspirations to
the traditional arts and took himself to a new and better paid
position, again as an artist, at the Freeman’s studio in
arrival there in 1904, Cazneaux did not even have a camera and
had only some experience with ones he had borrowed. Despite the
flood of new KODAK cameras many young wage earners could not
afford even this entrée to photography.
Sydney, Cazneaux used his extra wages to buy one of the small
cameras for amateurs — the Midge’ quarter plate box
camera. He began taking photographs on his way to and from work,
as well as on Sunday excursions into the countryside. Cazneaux’s
progress was extraordinarily rapid. He began making postcards
to send home to his family and Winifred Hodge his sweetheart
at Hammers. After their marriage in 1905, Cazneaux’s family
also became subjects for his camera.
1905 he was studying The Photograms of the Year, and Horsley-Hintons booklets
which he continued to recommend to aspiring artist-amateurs until
the end of his life(10). In 1907
he joined the New South Wales Photographic Society. Such was
Cazneaux’s success in local competitions that he was singled
out for an article in the AFJ in October 1908 for a
profile in the new series by Valdon 'on Our Artistic Workers'.
In the interview, Cazneaux stressed how he had instinctively
recognised that subject matter for pictorial treatment lay all
around him in the city and that he was one of the few to have
realised this(11). Pictorialist
aesthetics rested upon the individual vision and printing of
the photographer but the majority stuck to highly conventionalised
picturesque, genre or symbolic subjects for which models existed
in the traditional popular arts.
wrote his article on Cazneaux, and another on Fred Radford the
following year, in an 'impressionistic' journalistic style with
frequent personal comments. In both, he opposed himself, as a
rather world weary city worker, with the artistic photographers
who were presented as special beings whose works opened up their
exalted experiences of Nature (‘the great Mother in her
earthly robes’) to the mundane viewer. Of Radford he said,
to give her message to us he interprets her moods in a way of
his own(12). Such attitudes to
photographers extended the admiration awarded to earlier views
photographers like Charles Walter and Nicholas Caire, whose work
was seen as an inducement to an appreciation of the landscape.
The new photographs, however, were of beauties that only existed
in embryo in the real world until brought forth by the vision
and skill of the camera artist.
status was further confirmed by the one-person show. The rooms
of the Photographic Society were specially repapered in tasteful
tones, and the President James Stening (1870—1953) declared ‘the
object of the show as being purely artistic(12).
Stening had been a founder member, but unlike the immediate past
president Judge Docker, favoured the Pictorialist style. He produced
fine landscape studies in the manner of the English School in
the platinum process with occasional forays into soft-focus on
bromide paper. Some of his genre subjects were also full of the
movement that Cazneaux sought in his views(14).
formed the majority of the seventy-six carbon and bromide prints
in Cazneaux’s show. His versatility extended to genre subjects
in a symbolic vein with posed models such as Gracie, and also
to naturalistic images which told a story such as Visitor
from town and Come in. These showed the photographer
arriving and having tea with relatives inside their cottage.
Most of the prints were technically sophisticated in Cazneaux’s
use of printing papers and toners.
Impressionistic views of scenes about Sydney were the most original
and evocative works. These showed the old byways, the harbour
ferries, the markets and the streets, often taken at dusk or
early morning. Individually the images related to popular prints
of artists like Julian Ashton (1859-1935) who had already exploited
the picturesque potential of old Sydney areas such as The Rocks.
Cumulatively Cazneaux’s pictures left an impression of
an animated and picturesque city(15).
One-Man Show, (as its catalogue proudly stated in large letters),
established Cazneaux’s pre-eminence in the Pictorialist
sector of Sydney photography. He was overwhelmed by the public
response to the show, which was well reviewed(16) and
the interest shown in his work by local artists. Cazneaux formed
a lifelong friendship with Sydney Ure Smith (1887-1949), then
a young painting and etching graduate from Julian Ashton’s
Art School. Later, as a fine art and magazine publisher, Ure
Smith would be an important patron of Cazneaux and art photography.
career as an art photographer was established by the success
of his one-person show. He began writing articles, lecturing,
and exhibiting regularly in over-seas salons. In confirmation
of the originality of the old Sydney pictures in his exhibition,
in 1910 Cazneaux wrote an article for the A.P.J. recommending
such subjects, called ‘In and about the city with a hand
also wrote a series under the heading ‘Photography
for Australians’ which advocated the use of the small camera
and natural lighting for spontaneity. This series appeared in The Lone Hand magazine from September 1914 to January 1917(18).
International recognition within the Pictorialist world followed
with H. Snowden Ward, editor of The Photograms of the Year
1911, comparing Cazneaux’s The razzle dazzle (1908)
to the work of the most advanced art photographers(19).
1900, prior to Cazneaux’s arrival in Sydney, bubonic
plague had broken out and the slums of The Rocks had subsequently
cleaned up and disinfected. John Degotardi Jnr from the Public
Works Department, recorded the clean-up activities in1900(20) but
for Cazneaux the area after 1904 was a fresh pictorial source.
1909 Cazneaux had a considerable collection of views of The
Rocks and harbourside areas since these
route from his home on the North Shore. He exploited
the small hand-held
camera and his eve for figure composition and atmosphere,
so that his images well matched the lively human
older prints of the city and The Rocks areas. Crowds
and moving figures had been able to be caught by the camera
late 1880s, but few photographers could rival the painters’ or
graphic artists’ ability to arrange figures to
best animate a scene.
1912 Cazneaux made a picture of children in front
of the Argyle Cut linking the inner harbour with Sydney
Cove. With the
skill of persuasion necessary for such spontaneous-looking
work Cazneaux organised the subjects to wait on his
tripping of the
shutter. At the same time he balanced the arches of
old and new bridgework with the verticals of wall and lamp.
a number of bold compositions made of Belmore and Paddy’s
Markets, and the harbour and alleyways around the town,
which Cazneaux made
in the years he worked for Freemans studio.
photographers were at work in The Rocks in the same years as
One was Arthur D. Whitling
made stereo autochromes with his small Verascope
latter was an appropriate trade name, for the Whitling
image, seen as
a stereo, is startlingly real. Whitling was evidently
an amateur of some means, for colour work, which
by amateurs, was an expensive undertaking. Cazneaux
in these years
was too poor to experiment with colour and the picturesque
transformation of his subject matter achieved through
his control of printing
processes at the heart of his Pictorial style would
perhaps have been undermined by the directness of
comparison of the view of The Rocks well illustrates the way
the photographic technology
produce images of the same place, but different
one-person shows quickly followed on from the precedent set
by Cazneaux. Kauffmann’s
exhibition of seventy-four pictures was shown in Melbourne
in 1910, as were shows by T. C. Cummins and Frank Hurley in
Cartwright, Norman Deck and Cazneaux had solo exhibitions at
the New South Wales Photographic Society in 1912 and Kauffmann
another show in 1914, which was also exhibited in Sydney(22).
Few of the members could sustain solo exhibitions and were
encouraged to find a successful Pictorial formula and stick
to it, which was
advice they generally followed scrupulously and still do
in amateur societies. T. C. Cummins for example specialised
in wave studies and seascapes.
was the first of the new one-person shows to be held in Melbourne,
and was as well reviewed as Cazneaux’s had been.
Artists also responded to the work, for example the painter Hans Heysen
(1877-1968) purchased one of the photographs, titled Sheep(23).
works in Kauffmann’s show were mostly landscapes
in carbon and, like Cazneaux’s, were praised for
a judicious Impressionism which avoided the extremes of
number of urban scenes were also included,
which, The cloud for example, which treated the railway signal near Princes
Bridge as a subject for artistic treatment, were quite radical for Australian
this time(24). Overseas Pictorialists
had been treating industrial forms decoratively since the turn of the
century(25). Kauffmann continued
to develop such subjects
making a later view in the 1920s of a street with telegraph poles as
the central motif(26).
success in overseas exhibitions had begun before his return to Adelaide
and continued parallel with the exhibitions of Cazneaux, Joyner and
other prominent Australian Pictorialists throughout the twenties. In
Melbourne his landscapes and urban scenes were rivalled by the work
of J. Temple Stephens
(w. 1910s-1920s), an early experimenter with the bromoil process(27).
Sydney the idyllic soft-focus landscapes of Norman C. Deck (1882-1980)
often came close to Kauffmann’s in their shimmering atmosphere.
Deck had begun work in the more detailed and naturalistic style typical
the century. He
joined the New South Wales Photographic Society and the Ashfield
Camera Club in the early years, before taking up service
as a missionary
the Solomon Islands
different kind of Pictorial work was pioneered by Frank Hurley
in Sydney. He was
a professional postcard photographer who had taken
out around the city. His interests were more for dramatic technical
tour de force pictures.
He wrote an article for the Harrington’s Photographic Journal
in 1910, ‘Night
outing round the city'(29), but
had little in common with the more poetic aspirations of fellow
members of the New South Wales Photographic
Society, such as Cazneaux.
In 1911 Hurley was appointed as official photographer to Dr Douglas
Antarctic Expedition(30). The
concern for dramatic Pictorial effect in his Antarctic work had
its origins in the achievements of
the first generation
of art photographers
at the turn of the century.
exhibitions flourished during the early years of the century
and the Pictorialists attracted
considerable attention from the
magazines, which included ever lengthier
reviews of their works of art. A certain rivalry between the
Melbourne societies stimulated each group to aspire to larger
and more spectacular exhibitions.
The Victorian societies formed an affiliation in 1907 and held
an exhibition in 1909 with over 400 exhibits, and an interstate
in 1910 with entries from both main societies in Sydney and
Melbourne as well as a number
of smaller suburban and regional clubs(31).
Tasmanian clubs were equally active in these years but less
attracted to the ‘fuzzy-wuzzy’ styles so popular
on the eastern mainland. The South Australian Society was
somewhat in decline and
even in conflict
older, conservative school of thought came into conflict
with the overtly artistic work of some of the members(32).
New South Wales Society dominated the Victorian Affiliation
Exhibition of 1910, taking first prize as a group. In 1911
they mounted a large
international salon of which the editorial of the H.P.J. declared
that ‘modern Pictorial
photography can undoubtedly claim to be an art’(33).
The exhibition was held in the Royal Art Society’s
rooms and judged by Norman Lindsay, Henry King and William
The 106 English works had been selected by F. J. Mortimer
(1874-1944), editor of The Photograms of the Year,
and included many prominent figures; Frederick Evans,
E.O. Hoppé, J. C. Warburg and A.
photographic salon run by The Linked Ring Brotherhood had collapsed
by 1909 and been replaced by
the London Salon
a consequence of
conflicts with the
radical American Photo-Secessionists, led by Alfred Stieglitz
The conflict arose from the constraint placed upon Pictorialists’ desire
to express their 'personal artistic feeling and execution'.
For the British there were real limits to individuality
if it subverted traditional
of decorum, naturalism and the picturesque(34).
Stieglitz, photography as an art
was being pioneered by his small coterie of camera
artists exploring photography to its limits even if this meant
abandoning the picturesque
for the abstract.
The journal Camera Work that he edited, changed
direction after 1909, but the Australians were cut
off from an
understanding of the
by the schism
with English Pictorialists(35).
photographic societies were made up of large numbers
of members and the problem raised by the development
of art aspirations
was the inevitable
conservative or less talented members’ work in
the exhibitions. To remain an international proletariat
of Pictorial photographers
harsher realities of competition between artists and
the need for full-time dedication, was in conflict
with the social role played
by these societies.
national picture — the sunshine school
1911 exhibition held by the New South Wales Photographic Society
was followed by an even more substantial salon in 1917 at the
new Education Department Gallery(36). A
catalogue with twelve tipped-in illustrations was published,
the most substantial yet
in Australia. A new group, The Sydney Camera Circle, made its
debut at the 1917 salon. It had been formed late the year
before by members of the Photographic Society; Harold Cazneaux,
Bostock, James Stening, W. S. White (d.1932), Malcolm Mackinnon
and James Paton. A single copy of Camera Work of 1909 in
possession has drawings for a logo for the group.
new group met at the studio of commercial artist Cecil W. Bostock
who had only taken up photography around 1915. His skill
at calligraphy and decorative bookbinding
was used to
prepare a Declaration for the group and albums of the outings(37). Entrance
to the Circle was by invitation only and the tone and decoration
of the Declaration traced its origins to the earlier
secession of The Linked Ring Brotherhood from the Royal Photographic
Society in 1892.
1917 Bostock produced A Portfolio of Art Photographs containing
ten small bromide prints of a selection
of landscapes, urban
scenes and a striking nude study. These were restrained and
which had little trace of the exaggerated soft-focus or low
tone of earlier Pictorialism. The title subtly proclaimed
of direction away from photo-impressionism towards an aesthetic
regrounded in the kind of naturalism which the camera could
handle well. The images confirmed that art photography did
to be manipulated to match effects more easily obtained in
painting and the graphic arts.
Ure Smith wrote the review and editorial for the A.P.-R.
December 1917 issue 38 which
assessed the salon. He expressed
the reaction against the excessive handwork and fuzziness
of the past
in preference for real, unretouched photographic quality.
Ure Smith had met and been impressed by Cazneaux as early
and remained a significant supporter of photography as
its evolution from Pictorialism to Modernism and documentary
work in succeeding years. Smith was made an associate of
Camera Circle whose members had been responsible for the
revival of the New South Wales Photographic Society for
the 1917 exhibition.
By the end of the year there were about twelve members(39).
aim of the Circle was to pull Pictorial photography out
of the ‘rut of low tone’ into which it had
fallen and to express a national school based on sunshine.
This was indeed
appropriate, for the Australian soldiers were at that
time being slaughtered overseas wearing the rising sun
on their slouch
hats. The war focussed attention on the nation, although
few Pictorialists went, or even attempted to deal with
Bostock enlisted and served in France and Germany in
1918. He had an exhibition of his watercolours in London
of snaps and one treatment of a war subject called Dawn
breaks cold-shrieking-bloody but in general his diaries
interest in recording the war photographically(40).
1915 Cazneaux had made a picture of his small daughter
on the verandah of their home in North Sydney in which
through a Japanese blind fell across her face in brilliant
striations(41). He had
been calling for local photographers to fill their
with ‘light and air’ in the articles he
was writing for The Lone Hand(42). The
Sydney painter, Elioth Gruner (1882-1939),
and Hans Heysen were also among painters making images
of scenes against the sunlight similar to those featured
in Cazneaux’s Lone Hand illustrations.
had appeared at the turn of the century when national sentiment
was high due to the forthcoming
States under a separate national government. Critics
had implored the
photographers to ‘cast their efforts in with
their loyalty, and so exhibit a national character,
just as our soldiers in
South Africa did not ape the Imperial Troops by keeping
shoulder to shoulder,
and yet came out with honours'(43). The
First World War brought a new wave of nationalism
and calls for an
Pictorialism, which would feature more typical Australian
motifs, including bright light in preference to the
soft misty atmosphere
appropriate to European landscape work.
Walter Barnett had extended the portrait trade at the turn
of the century through the stylish portraiture
of socialites and celebrities,
often printed in the luxurious carbon and platinotype processes
favoured by the art photographers. He belonged to The Linked
and had had work exhibited in salons. Fred Radford and L. W.
Appleby were also among the earliest professionals to apply
finish and posing to portrait work. Appleby in particular was
known for his portraits in gum-bichromate. Portraitists began
some of the precedents of celebrity portraits for the depiction
of ordinary people. The English painter of the eighteenth
century, Joshua Reynolds, had made a speciality of portraits
women depicted as allegorical characters. This mode, and the
fashion of tableaux photography, was increasingly applied to
portrait photo-graphs after the turn of the century.
Cato (1889-I971), a young photographer from Tasmania and
later author of The Story of the Camera in Australia (1955),
worked extensively in theatre photography between 1909-1913
in London. At first he worked for H. W. Barnett and Claude
Harris and later
established studios in Hobart in 1920 and Melbourne in 1927(44). His
portrait of the Duchess of Leinster of 1911 transforms the
into an ethereal muse. Such glamour portraiture tended to
fix women in the attitude of demure unworldliness with eyes
down or fixed
on some distant higher goal. Later portraits such as Athol
of the luminous Vivien Leigh of 1948 continue this tradition.
new professionals in the prewar years included a number
of women, reflecting the greater independence of women, electoral
the suffrage issue and the change in social structures
fewer women expected to be kept at home until marriage.
Alice Mills (1870-1929)
trained as a colourist in the Johnstone O’Shaunessy
studio where she met her future husband, the painter Tom
then manager of the studio. They started their own business
in 1900. This later operated under her name only, probably
from 1902 on when
illness affected Thomas’ work. Mills made many portraits
of artists, including Tom Roberts, and one of her husband
and daughter Mary(45).
Fletcher (w. 1905-1930)
also seems to have had connections with art circles,
making a number of portraits of Arthur Streeton.
Fletcher began as an amateur and turned professional
in 1908(46). The New Zealand
born sisters, May (1881-1931) and Mina (1882-1967)
Moore had a studio in New Zealand before May set up a
studio in Sydney at the Bulletin Building and Mina in
in the Auditorium
Buildings. The sisters relied on a formula known as Rembrandt
lighting which left much of the picture in rich dark
brown tones and picked
out the main profile or features with a pencil of light
from one side. Their work was often stamped with both
Mina in Melbourne who made the extraordinary portrait
of Shirley Huxley with her hair flowing, one of the classics
photography. Its inspired and unusual composition sidestepped
the formulas of
muse or vamp into which much glamour portraiture polarised
in these years.
portrait studios worked in similar styles of lighting and printing
as used by the Moore sisters,
did as much
as they did
with the formula. Rudolph Buchner, about whom very
little is known, worked in Sydney and Melbourne around 1913-1930.
He made a striking portrait of Mary Gilmore in 1913
and one of artist Elioth
Gruner framed in a doorway in 1925(47).
studio was taken over by Ruth Hollick (1882-1977)
who had trained at the National Gallery Art School
in Melbourne in 1902-1903 and like May Moore,
who had originally studied art at Elam Art School
in Auckland, was attracted to the artistic, literary
and theatrical circles of Melbourne. These circles
were most likely more receptive to women as professionals.
Ruth Hollick retained friendships
with students from the National Gallery School: painter,
Dora L. Wilson (1883-1946), and photographer,
Pegg Clarke (c.1890-1956),
who exhibited in salons in addition to running a
studio in Melbourne. Dorothy Izard became Hollick’s
partner around 1918(48).
had a special talent with child photography - still
a taxing subject in the 1920s despite technological
advances. Her work filled the illustrated magazines
of the day including Sydney
Ure Smith’s The Home, founded in 1920.
child and social portraiture Hollick was the
Melbourne counterpart to Harold Cazneaux in Sydney
an appointment as special
photographer to The Home. Hollick’s studies
were less stylised than many of Cazneaux’s.
An ingenious portrait of the young and seemingly
affluent Master Quentin Cain of around 1930, equalled
compositions which Cazneaux favoured and left a
of the subject. In
the I930s Hollick retired from the city studio
and worked from home.
of illustrations used in the original publication (captions may
John Kauffmann: A chestnut grove in autumn. c.1898
Pierce Cazneau: Reception room, Hammer and Co. Studion, Adelaide.
Harold Cazneaux: Puncture in Pitt Street. 1912
NSW Govt Works ( John Degotardi Jnr) from album, Plague
P.88: Arthur D. Whitling: Old Sydney, Trinity Avenue, The Rocks.
P.89: Harold Cazneaux: Children of The Rocks. 1912
P.90: Norman C. Deck: In the New Forest, Hants, England. c.1920
W. Bostock: (label) A Portfolio of Art Photographs. 1917
P.93: Jack Cato: Duchess of Leinster, London. 1911
P.94: Alice Mills: Tom Humphrey and his daughter, Mary. C.1912
P.95: May and
Minna Moore Studio: Shirley Huxley. c.1928
P.96: Ruth Hollick: Quentin Cain. c.1930