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Hans Wilhelm Hasenpflug was born in Germany and emigrated to Australia in 1927. He had trained as a clerk in the German exporting firm of Munsterlager, and until 1932 was employed as a clerk or salesman in similar firms in Sydney.

Hasenpflug appears to have taken up photography around this time and was working as a photographer for Leica Photo Service in 1932. The Leica job was probably simply processing work. Hasenpflug began his professional career in the commercial illustration studio of Russell Roberts Pty Ltd. where he worked from 1935 - 37.

Hasenpflug specialised in figure work, usually fashion and product advertising as well as some portraiture. His work began appearing in Table Talk and The Sydney Morning Herald Women’s Supplement. By 1938 Hasenpflug had photographs exhibited in the pictorial, portrait and commercial sections of the mammoth 150th Anniversary Salon commemorating the foundation of Australia. His photograph of a child leaning over a balustrade, in rather soft focus, was praised as “ . . an outstanding study of light and shade” and an example of “modern” photography. Hasenpflug’s fashion work of this time (plate 74, Fashion Illustration, c.1937) is reminiscent of the work of Munkasci, a photographer who pioneered such spontaneous fashion shots in the 1920s.

By the time of the 150th Anniversary Salon Hasenpflug was working for Athol Shmith’s studio in Melbourne, which specialised in fashion and social portraiture. He later worked for other commercial studios, Austin-Murcott and Ritter-Jeppersen, from 1942 - 45.

Hasenpflug had to switch to child portraiture during the war years as he was restricted from doing the industrial work he had begun to develop in the 1940s. Hasenpflug was naturalised at the close of the war and established a studio of his own in Drury Lane, working in commercial illustration. Norman Ikin may have been associated with this studio. Hasenpflug later worked for Myer department stores doing product advertisements before ill health ended his career.

Although he did not become professionally involved with photography until his arrival in Australia, Hans Hasenpflug’s work was closer in style to the New Photography (developed in Germany around 1927) than most of the Australian photographers. In particular the close-up study of the cactus (plate 81) resembles the work of Albert Renger-Patzsch.

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

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