DOB - 30th March 1878 Wellington, New Zealand
DOD - 19th June 1953 Roseville, Sydney, New South Wales

Harold Pierce Cazneaux, photographer, was born on 30 March 1878 in Wellington, New Zealand, son of Pierce Mott Cazneaux, an English-born photographer and his wife Emily Florence, née Bentley, a colorist and miniature painter from Sydney. In the 1890s the family moved to Adelaide and Mott became manager of Hammer and Co.'s Rundle Street studio. Harold went to a local state school; he started to work in his father's studio and attended H.P. Gill's evening classes at the School of Design, Painting and Technical Arts. As a young man his passion for photography as an art was aroused by an exhibition of new 'pictorial movement' photographs from England.

Cazneaux moved to Sydney in 1904 and worked in Freeman and Co. Ltd's studio, becoming manager and chief operator. On 1st September 1905 at Lewisham he married Mabel Winifred Hodge. In his leisure time he began to document old Sydney. In 1907 he showed photographs at the members exhibition of the Photographic Society of New South Wales and two years later held the first one-man exhibition in Australia: the critics praised the diversity of his work. He sent some of his pictures overseas and was recognized as a pioneer of the pictorial movement. In 1916 with five friends, he founded the amateur Sydney Camera Circle. Opposed to slavish imitation of overseas trends, he argued for a break with the typical low-toned British print in favor of 'truly Australian sunshine effects'.

In 1914 Cazneaux won Kodak's 'Happy Moments' contest and used the £100 as a deposit for a house in Roseville where he lived and from 1920 worked for the rest of his life. Frustrated and in poor health, he had left Freeman's in 1918 and was rescued from penury by S. Ure Smith, who gave him regular work for his new publications the Home and Art in Australia. His frontispiece photograph for the first issue of the Home in 1920 used sunshine effects so successfully that it sparked a new trend in local photography. 'Caz' benefited greatly from the publicity. A member of the London Salon of Photography, he exhibited there from at least 1911 and in 1924, with other members of the camera circle, opened the short-lived Australian Salon with a hanging of 170 pictures.

Cazneaux's stature is based on the extraordinary diversity of his work—landscapes and portraits. He produced a series of portraits of well-known artists, musicians, and actors and many books including Canberra, Australia's Federal Capital (1928), Sydney Surfing (1929), The Bridge Book (1930), The Sydney Book (1931), Frensham Book (1934), and the jubilee number of the B.H.P. Review (1935). As a critic he wrote for the Australasian Photographic Review and the Gallery Gazette, London, and columns for the Lone Hand and Sydney Mail. Sometime president of the Photographic Society of New South Wales, he was elected an Hon.Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain in 1937.

Survived by his wife and five daughters, who all helped in his studio, Cazneaux died at his Roseville home on 19th June 1953 and was cremated with Anglican rites. His only son was killed at the siege of Tobruk, North Africa, in 1941.

1907 he joined the Photographic Society of New South Wales and showed photographs at the members exhibition.

1909 Cazneaux was sufficiently established to mount a one-man exhibition in Australia, this was exhibited in the Photographic Society of New South Wales rooms.

Was Australia’s greatest pictorialist photographer; a pioneer whose style had an indelible impact on the development of Australian photographic history. He was a founder of the Pictorialist Sydney Camera Circle whose "manifesto" had been drawn up and signed on 28th November 1916 by the founding group of six photographers which included, Mr Cecil Bostock, Mr Harold Pierce Cazneaux, Mr Malcolm McKinnon, Mr James Paton, Mr James Stening and Mr W.S. White, (later joined by Henri Mallard).

1938 Cazneaux also exhibited with the Contemporary Camera Groupe but became increasingly disheartened by the modern trends in photography, which he felt were cold and mechanistic.

1938 awarded Hon.FRPS - Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.

1946 to 1947 - Honorary Corresponding Member of Council of the Royal Photographic Society.

Thursday 13th October 1949  Page 13 - Chronicle (Adelaide, SA)

The Barmera Show Society held its 21st anniversary spring show on Saturday. The attendance of 2,500 was a record and the 1,700 entries showed an increase of 25 percent above last year's record.

The show was opened by Mr Melrose MLC and His Excellency the Governor (Sir Willoughby Norrie), Lady Norrie and Miss Rosemary Norrie arrived later.

A feature of the show was the photographic section, including three classes which brought over 150 entries from every State in the Commonwealth except Queensland.

The pictorial enlargement was won by Mr Harold Cazneaux, of Roseville, NSW. He also won the child study. The enlargement of human interest, carrying a £10/10/ first prize, was won by Mr G. Robertson, of Millswood, South Australia and Mr F. Cole was the Judge.

1st July 1953  Page 446 - Vol. 60 No. 7 Australasian photo-review

TRIBUTE to HAROLD PIERCE CAZNEAUX (30th March 1878 - 19th June 1953) written by Keast Burke

It is with sincere regret that we record the passing late on the morning of the 19th June 1953, of Australia's vetran pictorialist and grand old man of photography.

At the funeral there was a full representation of members of the Sydney Camera Circle, with which group our good friend had been associated from its inception, while the profession was represented by Val Waller, Monte Luke and Laurence Le Guay.

In the memorable words of Jack Cato on the occasion of The Nation's Tribute of October last . . . "He became, for this country, photography's chief spokesman - its leading lecturer, teacher, adviser, demonstrator and judge. He was forever writing articles, reviews and commentaries and reporting abroad on the work and standards of the year.cIn all this he never hoarded a secret nor sought an advantage . . . 'Caz' has had a full and a wonderful life; he's a kindly modest soul who never made an enemy or lost a friend. He has known struggle and tragedy and loss - and he has also known great achievement, though modestly disinclined to admit the latter. When one begins to talk of 'Caz' one always finds oneself returning to the man himself, to the gentle, modest, kindly man who ever gave so much of himself to others".

by Harold Cazneaux

by Harold Cazneaux

by Harold Cazneaux

by Harold Cazneaux

by Harold Cazneaux

by Harold Cazneaux c.1910

by Harold Cazneaux

by Harold Cazneaux

by Harold Cazneaux

by Harold Cazneaux C.1926

15th August 1925  Page 388 - Vol. 32 No. 8 The Australasian Photographic Review

Harold Cazneaux

15th August 1925  Page 391 - Vol. 32 No. 8 The Australasian Photographic Review

Harold Cazneaux

15th August 1925  Page 395 - Vol. 32 No. 8 The Australasian Photographic Review

Harold Cazneaux
A Portrait by Mrs. Alfred G. Milson
The Bromoil by Mr. Cazneaux

15th August 1925  Page 397 - Vol. 32 No. 8 The Australasian Photographic Review

Harold Cazneaux

15th August 1925  Page 399 - Vol. 32 No. 8 The Australasian Photographic Review

Harold Cazneaux

The print for Bromoil was made by using a soft focus lens whilst enlarging, to add breadth.
The pigmenting was carried out on a broad tone principle, and softer ink was used on the sky and parts that showed contrast in light tones.
Fairly fine ink work was necessary to escape some of the unnecessary detail in the original print. Period of inking—15 x 12 print—30 minutes.

15th August 1925  Page 401 - Vol. 32 No. 8 The Australasian Photographic Review

Harold Cazneaux

The idea of pigmenting up the print was to obtain a softened distant outline of the line of hills — which in this straight print appears too clean cut.
There was also scope to accent high lights and vary tones. Period of inking — 12 x 10 print — 30 minutes.

15th August 1925  Page 403 - Vol. 32 No. 8 The Australasian Photographic Review

Harold Cazneaux

This is a bit of Old Sydney that the new harbour bridge under construction caused to pass out of existence.
There are many old charming bits still available round about “The Rocks” area.
They, too, will pass away as time progresses. Period of inking — 12 x 10 print — 20 minutes.


The catalog of the London Salon 1949 shows that six acceptances were gained by Australasian workers as follows: G.G. Smith (Martina Franca), Kenneth Hastings (Danse Macabre), J.P. Carney ARPS (Silhouettes, Evening on the Hill), Harold Cazneaux, Hon. FRPS (The Surgeon Dr. Julian Smith, Balloons), the latter being reproduced in the catalog.

The Surgeon Dr. Julian Smith

My association with the London Salon has been a long and happy one, going back to 1909 and broken only by the war years. The completion of the 40-year period set me to looking up “Photograms” for the year 1909 and was reminded that this fine annual was then edited by H. Snowden Ward FRPS, who also contributed the splendid review of all the prints reproduced. Australia and New Zealand were represented by nine exhibitors whose prints were reproduced in that volume. The article on “Artistic Photography in Australia” was written by Walter Burke FRPS. Among the names of the Australian and New Zealand workers represented, I noted those of Arthur Smith, J. Williams, Gerald E. Jones and my own. It may also be of interest to record some of the camera workers of world renown of that period: Craig J. Annan, Annie W. Brigman, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Bertram Cox, William Crooke, Robert Demachy, R. Duhrkoop, F.H. Evans, Charles Job, Gertrude Kasebier, Alex Keighley, Leonard Misonne, F.J. Mortimer, Col. Puyo, J.M. Whitehead, A.H. Blake (all in the 1909 volume), while other workers not represented were J. Kauffmann, Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen, to quote a few names that come to mind.

There is a tremendous difference between this early volume of “Photograms of the Year” and the present volumes. I am referring not so much to the subject matter, but to the actual reproduction and printing quality, which technique has now become an art of its own. One, therefore, can pause to consider just how wonderful that work of forty years ago would look if it could only be reproduced in the style of the present 1949 volume.

It is a good habit to keep records and maintain files of salon catalogs, “Photograms” and “The Years Photography” (published by the Royal Photographic Society), to say nothing of “The American Annual of Photography” and others. Serious workers will find much interest in “going back a bit” into the past records of photographic art and achievement and probably end by deploring the absence of a National Gallery of Photographic Art. These publications and of course, the magazines, remain the only records available to enable us to review the progress of the art of photography.

Some modernists may say “Bury the past; we are only concerned with the present”. If this were to be the rule, we would have no art collections to reflect upon, no great musical compositions to listen to. What has been done well over the past lives on to stimulate our achievement for the present and to gladden our pathway to the future.

JANUARY 9th, 1887 — OCTOBER 11th, 1949

The passing of Sydney Ure Smith takes a truly outstanding personality from the Art World of Australia and in addition, represents a deeply-felt loss for myself.

I felt that his interest in photography, partly at any rate, developed at the time of my first One-Man-Show of photographs. This was held in the rooms of the Photographic Society Of New South Wales during March, 1909. I remember well his words of encouragement when he looked over my show; he predicted a rosy future for the artistic outlook in photography and his interest and support existed from that day onward right up to the time of his death.

In those faraway days he was one of the partners in the still well-known commercial art studios of Smith and Julius, an organization which was not behindhand in the introduction of photography into its publicity work. Later, he and Bertram Stevens founded “Art in Australia” and “The Home” and I was soon making myself busy as special photographer for “The Home” and the partnership’s other publications. This appointment brought me into close contact with Sydney Ure Smith over a long period of years; during these periods he made special use of photography in his plans for developing his journals. To-day it is history how well he succeeded in reaching the highest standards in the field of art book publication.

He was one of the few artists who recognized that the camera could be used artistically by those who had mastered its technique. Many artists condemned the growth of photography, whereas he applauded and encouraged. In the August 1935 issue of “Art in Australia”, at my suggestion and without hesitation he published an article and a group of sixteen full-page reproductions of the work of members of the Sydney Camera Circle.

He was also responsible for the publication of a number of photographic books; amongst these might be quoted “The Frensham Book” the Sydney Harbour Bridge Book, the Native Bear Book, The Sydney Book and the various “Home Annuals”, all of which were successfully based on the graphic powers of the camera.

One of his ambitions was the publication of a book of my own life work in photography and although this volume never saw the press, it nevertheless always remained a possibility in the back of his mind. Over the past few years, he published books on the work of Max Dupain and one or two other present-day photographers.

Turning to the purely artistic side, it is generally admitted that his various monographs and compilations covering the work of Australian artists have never been excelled; indeed, all that he did will remain as a tribute to his own artistic powers and to his splendid width of vision over the whole world of art.

As one who knew him so well over the past, I feel it my duty to express this short tribute to his name. He was ever a helper and a friend to every artist. He recognized that art could be expressed by the technique of photography with the camera guided by the creative and artistic mind. In this important realization the photographers of Australia will ever remember Sydney Ure Smith.