Harold Cazneaux was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1878. His parents, Pierce Mott Cazneau and Emma Florence (née Bentley) worked in commercial studios in New Zealand before returning to settle permanently in Adelaide during the early 1890s. At the age of 18 Cazneaux went to work alongside his father at Hammer & Co studio as a retoucher. He moved to Sydney in 1904 to join the larger portrait firm, Freeman’s quickly ascending to the position of ‘chief operator’ (as camera portraitists were known). Studio work was highly formulaic, with little scope for creativity. Cazneaux used his time walking to and from work to experiment with pictorialist aesthetics 1.
In many ways, Paddy’s Market exhibits a classically pictorialist aesthetic. Cazneaux makes use of the raking sunlight to illuminate the varying varied tonal consistency of the cloudscape. He shot the picture looking into the sun. This compositional choice silhouettes the horse and, darkens the carriage and boy in the foreground, creating a moody atmosphere. Cazneaux’s photography exhibits a search for the picturesque and the romantic in laneways, streets and markets, otherwise unexceptional scenes. 2.
The Photographic Society of New South Wales organised an exhibition of Cazneaux’s photographs in 1909, the first such solo exhibition of its kind in Australia. In 1916 he and fellow pictorialist photographer, Cecil Bostock founded the Sydney Camera Circle. The group was particularly interested in the how pictorialism could be adapted to and extended within an Australian context. The mechanised, standardised and frenetic pace of Freeman’s increasingly took its toll on Cazneaux’s creativity and health, and he resigned in 1917. He moved with his wife and daughters to the Sydney suburb of Roseville, and in 1920 he was employed as the official photographer for The Home magazine. This new position let him work in a varied indoor and outdoor environments. In 1938 Cazneaux was awarded an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of London. He continued to work until his death in 1953.
1. Newton G 1988, ‘Shades of Light: Photography and Australia 1839-1988’, Australian National Gallery, Canberra p 85
2. Miller S 2007, ‘Chapter 4: Australian Pictorialism’ in, ‘Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection Handbook’, Sydney p 82
gelatin silver photograph
23.4 x 29.2 cm image/sheet; 31.6 x 37.4 cm card
Signature & date
Signed l.r. card, pencil "H. Cazneaux". Dated l.l. card, pencil "...1906". [Query signature possibly by Beryl Cazneaux]
Gift of the Cazneaux family 1975
Not on display
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Australian Pictorial Photography:
- S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks 12 Jun 1979–08 Jul 1979
- The Victorian College of the Arts Gallery, South Bank 08 Aug 1979–31 Aug 1979
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 01 Dec 1979–30 Jan 1980
Harbour hymns, city songs: visions of Sydney from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Jan 1990–11 Mar 1990
Souvenirs of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 14 Mar 1992–10 May 1992
Harold Cazneaux: artist in photography, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Jun 2008–10 Aug 2008
Referenced in 5 publications
Unknown, Harold Cazneaux: artist in photography, Sydney, 2008.
Philip Geeves presents Cazneaux's Sydney 1904-1934, Sydney, 1980, 28, 29 (illus.). plate no. 29
Gael Newton, Silver and Grey - Fifty Years of Australian Photography 1900-1950, 1980, (illus.). plate no. 38
Unknown, Harbour hymns, city songs: visions of Sydney from the collection, Sydney, 1990. cat.no. 14
Gael Newton, Australian Pictorial Photography, Melbourne, 1979, 16. cat.no. 16