Pavement artist is a rich sepia-toned photograph of a painter and his admirer, taken on Macquarie Street, Sydney, as the plaque on the stone masonry indicates. In 1914 Macquarie Street was a mix of stately residential townhouses and medical surgeries, connected with Macquarie Hospital. This made it a favourite haunt of aspiring artists who sought patronage from the thoroughfare’s elite and professional commuters 1.
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 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. Geeves P and Newton G 1980, ‘Cazneaux’s Sydney 1904-1934’, The Daniel Ell Press, Sydney p 90
2. Newton G 1988, ‘Shades of Light: Photography and Australia 1839-1988’, Australian National Gallery, Canberra p 85
gelatin silver photograph
22.0 x 22.1 cm image/sheet; 30.0 x 28.9 cm card
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l. verso card, pencil "1914 Harold Cazneaux". Signed l.r. card, pencil "H. Cazneaux". Dated l.l. card, pencil "...1914".
Gift of the Cazneaux family 1975
Not on display
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Referenced in 2 publications
Project 7: Harold Cazneaux 1878 - 1953, Sydney, 1975. cat.no. 10
Philip Geeves presents Cazneaux's Sydney 1904-1934, Sydney, 1980, 90, 91 (illus.).