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James Sydney Stening was born in Sydney and trained as a jeweller. His first job was with Fairfax and Roberts Jewellers with whom he remained until retirement.

Stening took up photography in the 1890s and was a founder member of the Photographic Society of New South Wales in 1894 and the Sydney Camera Circle later in 1916.

He was also active in the Ashfield District Camera Club, to which his friends Norman Deck, Henri Mallard and Frank Hurley also belonged.

Stening encouraged the talent of Harold Cazneaux and instigated the latter’s one-man show in 1909.

Stening was a meticulous craftsman, preferring the fine detail and delicate tones of the older platinum printing papers as in plate 2 to the impressionistic soft focus prints done on bromide paper.

But around 1910, Stening also began to print in the newer manner.

He worked chiefly in landscape, in the graceful and serene mood favoured by his close friend Norman Deck.

Stening ceased his involvement with photographic salons and societies around 1920, although he was one of the first to adopt the new Leica 35mm camera on its release in 1925 and continued to photograph for some time.

A collection of his negatives was donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales by Norman Deck.


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

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