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Biography

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CECIL. W. BOSTOCK

1884-1939

Cecil Westmoreland Bostock was born in England and came with his parents to Sydney, New south Wales, in 1888. His father, George, a bookbinder, died in 1892. Bostock was first apprenticed as an engineer in the Waverley Tramway Workshop but left work and home to pursue an artistic career around 1901.

Little is known of Bostock’s activities until 1916, by which time he was a member of the Photographic Society of New South Wales, the Commercial Artists Association and the Sydney Camera Circle, of which he was a founder. He appears to have set up his own studio in Phillip Street at this time and it was there that the Sydney Camera Circle held meetings until 1921.

Day Breaks - Cold Shrieking~Bloody, 1918-1919

Bostock served overseas on war service in the infantry from 1917—18 and was able to spend six months in London in 1919, before his discharge in Sydney in 1920.

In London Bostock joined the Royal Photographic Society and he arranged a one-man show of his watercolours of war scenes in 1920. On his return Bostock married a girl he had met in London and worked as a professional photographer.

He had studios at a number of city locations over the next twenty years and specialised in illustration for advertising and industrial magazines — a new field at that time.

Bostock was a contradictory and erratic personality. His graphic work was colourful and decorative and he was a skilled craftsman in bookbinding and carpentry.

In photography he was a perfectionist in technical matters, yet an erratic businessman always leaving jobs to the last moment. He was active in photographic societies and a champion of art photography.

A Decoration

In 1917 he produced an album proudly titled A Portfolio of Art Photographs which contained ten original photographs, limited to an edition of twenty-five copies and hand bound. The photographs were, like most of his work, austere and without the soft focus, painterly effects of his pictorialist colleagues.

Bostock edited and designed the catalogues of the pictorialists’ big exhibitions, ‘The Australian Salon of Photography”, held in 1924 and 1926, as well as the catalogue of the Contemporary Camera Groupe exhibition in 1938.

The latter was the first independent exhibition of ‘modern” photography and Bostock was alone amongst the pictorialists in his interest in experimenting with abstract forms as seen in plates 54 and 60 of Silver & Grey.

His concept of art photography does not appear to have been limited to a particular style.

Bostock died of cancer and his studio effects were auctioned to cover his debts. His body of work was thus scattered and only a few of his prints have been located.

Bostock’s commercial work can be seen in The Home magazine and some of his exhibition work in The Australasian Photo-Review.

 

 
     

 

                                  

He was also largely responsible for the illustrations in The Book Of The Anzac Memorial N.S.W. published in 1934.

A legacy also remained through his apprentice Max Dupain, who worked in his studio from 1930—33.

above text based on Gaël Newton's Newton's Silver & Grey

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