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Ek skryf (gewoonlik) soos dit is…

Early photographers of South Africa (and elsewhere)

The Carte de Visite appeared in Britain some time during 1859-1860. Its original method of production was patented in France in 1854 by the photographer, André  Adolphe Eugene Disdéri.  And, though Disdéri called it a visiting card, these photos were never used for that purpose.

Prior to the introduction of the card portrait, photos had been sold as one-off items. But mass production heralded the arrival of a mass market in photography. To make the carte pay it had to be sold in quantity – by the half dozen, 20 or even 100.

The size of a Carte de Visite is 54.0 mm (2.125 in) × 89 mm (3.5 in) mounted on a card sized 64 mm (2.5 in) × 100 mm (4 in). In 1854, Disdéri had also patented a method of taking eight separate negatives on a single plate, which reduced production costs.

The purpose-designed photo album was brought in at the same time as the Carte de Visite. Sitters were expected to buy their dozen cartes, then give copies to family and friends for their albums. The Carte de Visite forms the backbone of the Victorian family album. It survived for over 50 years only disappearing from sale  during World War 1

Soon after the September issue of 1860 of the Cape Monthly Magazine contained the portrait of Prince Alfred, Carte de Visite photos became very popular in the Cape. In February 1861, Frederick York of the Cape became the first Cape photographer to own a Carte de Visite camera, but it was his successor, Arthur Green, to be the first recorded photographer to introduce the Carte de Visite into the Colony.

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George Francis Ashley (1842-1903). Born in Cape Town, his photographic career began in 1864 as an assistant to Lawrence Bros. He took over the studio in his own name in 1865 and employed Arthur Green for a short time. In 1870 his father joined him in partnership. In 1875 they were doing business in their old studio at 6 Ashley street. He was the first Cape photographer to employ magnesium light.

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F. Armstrong – doing business during 1890 in Bloemfontein.

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(Also spelt Aitchison and Tradman) Not much is known about this partnership. Doing business at 42 Adderley Street, Cape Town and 2 Hout Street, Cape Town in 1878. It looks like if Crewes and van Laun took over their business. During 1880 Crewes & van Laun were still in business because in that year they took some pictures on board the S.S. Natal of Cetywayo, King of the Zulus.

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Samuel Baylis Barnard (1841-1916) described as Cape Town’s most fashionable photographer, arrived in Cape Town on 12 July 1864. He was an artist but soon became a photographer and as a freelannce photographer took some of his first pictures of the Paarl Agriculture Show in January 1865. The later well- known photographer, James Gribble II, received his training at Barnard’s studio.

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Doing business in Main Street, Simonstown during 1888-1894.

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Albertus Smuts Brink. Nothing is known about this photographer. If there is anyone who can provide me with more information, it will be highly appreciated.

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James Edward Bruton (1838-1918). Born in Port Elizabeth. Opened his first studio at the age of 19 opposite the Lyceum in Port Elizabeth. Left Port Elizabeth in 1874 and set up a new studio in Cape Town. He was one of the very few photographers who succeeded financially. For several years he was the only photographer in the Cape to enlarge photographs. He was the first Cape photograher to depict clouds in photographs.

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He was doing business in Lady Grey, Aliwal North during 1888, Heilbron during 1890, 1550 Pritchard Street, Johannesburg during 1890-91.

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Crewes was a jeweller and photographer, first with his son and later, also with Van Laun, 42 Adderley Street, Cape Town, 1882-83.

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See Crewes & van Laun above

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Not much is known about him except that he was also a photographer in Parys (Free State) and Rouxville during 1889-1891.

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Elliott & Fry was a Victorian photography studio founded in 1863 by Joseph John Elliott and Clarence Edmund Fry. For a century the firm’s core business was taking and publishing photographs of the Victorian public and social, artistic, scientific and political luminaries. In the 1880s the company operated three studios and four large storage facilities for negatives, with a printing works at Barnet.
The firm’s first address was 55 & 56 Baker Street in London, premises they occupied until 1919. The studio employed a number of photographers, including Francis Henry Hart and Alfred James Philpott in the Edwardian era, Herbert Lambert and Walter Benington in the 1920s and 1930s and subsequently William Flowers. During World War II the studio was bombed and most of the early negatives were lost, the National Portrait Gallery holding all the surviving negatives. With the firm’s centenary in 1963 it was taken over by Alexander Bassano.

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Glassberg had a studio in Paarl – the Glassberg building is still standing on the Main road – as well as in Worcester. During 1892-1896 he worked for James Gribble and Gustav Decker from Paarl before he set up his own studio.

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James F Goch, at first a Diamond Field photographer in 1873, he later moved to
Paarl in 1882 where he opened a studio on the Markt Plein and named it De Zuid-Afikaansche Studio en Photografische Kunst Gallery, Oudtshoorn 1888(more or less the time when James Gribble took over his business), Rissik Street, Johannesburg 1888, 1570 Pritchard Street, Johannesburg 1889-94, Residence: Eloff Street N., Johannesburg, 1464 Eloff Street, Johannesburg 1890-98, Residence: Bok Street, Braamfontein, Also at Pretoria.
While in Paarl, he also doing business as a watchmaker and stationary dealer.

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For three generations the Gribbles captured the people and buildings of the Paarl. James Gribble arrived in Cape Town from Cornwall in 1860 and his son, James (Jimmy), came to Paarl in 1888. His (Jimmy’s) son, Harold, took over from him and Harold’s daughter, Yvonne, also did some part-time photography. Eventually in 1987 she rented out the business to a certain mr. R Zocher, but this lasted only for one year.

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Wilhelm Hermann (originally an artist) was doing business as photographer at 2 Roeland Street, Cape Town 1880-1884 and on Stalplein (opp. Govt. House) Cape Town from 1888-1894.

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WHB Hodgson had a studio on Stalplein. Cape Town in 1875, Zonneblom, Cape Town during 1877-1885 and 15 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town.

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Alf H Hosking had the Childrens Studio in 134 Adderley Street, Cape Town.

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JH Kaupper, originally a bookbinder and printer. As photographer from 66 Dorp street, Cape Town in 1865, in 1868 at 63 Long street, Cape Town.

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Joseph Kirkman, a photographer from Beard’s London. As SA photographer in 1859 at Greenmarket Square, Cape Town. Also at 9 Adderley Street, Cape Town 1860-63, 1 Hout Street, Cape Town 1865, 7 Darling Street, Cape Town 1866, 6 Plein Street, Cape Town 1871-72. In 1866 he left for George and stayed there for just more than a year.

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(William) Lawrence & (David) Selkirk formed their partnership in 1866 and doing business at 111 Caledon street, Cape Town. H.R.H the Duke sits for his portrait to inaugurate their new branch establishment, The Royal Photographic Saloon at 14 Strand street, Cape Town on 4.9.1867.

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The partners of Lawrence Bros. were James Lawrence and Colin Gibb Lawrence and were doing business from Ashley street, Cape Town in 1864. Left for England in 1865.

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He employed his brothers Alexander and Colin Gibb as his assistants and later joined with Colin in a partnership. (See above).

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JR Mee, doing business at West Street Central, Durban in 1880, Cathcart 1884, Du Toits Pan Road, Kimberley 1889-1891 and in Wynberg 1891.

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Friedrich Wilhelm Meissner’s father was a professional photographer and came to South Africa from Egypt in 1881. They lived in Paarl for some time and had a photographic business there. They left for Germany in 1893, Friedrich got married there and came back to Paarl as photographer. He and his family eventually settled in Steynsburg where he studied part-time for a dentist. One of his sons also qualified as a dentist and settled in Paarl.

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William Moore, born in Derby, England in 1834 came to South Africa where he and Thomas Whiteford, a hairdresser, set up a partnership at the corner of Plein and Darling streets in November 1860. The partnership disoluted in 1865.
Later at 11/14 Hout Street, Cape Town 1862-1876 where he also doing business as a tobacconist. He purchased whole of Chapman’s valuable negatives of the interior and natives of South Africa.

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GL Mulder from Utrecht. (I found some pictures on the Internet indicating that he was already a photographer in 1881).

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GJ Naude, a general dealer in Middelburg, Transvaal 1879, Dorp Street and Andringa Street, Stellenbosch 1882-1891, with De Beer, Rouxville 1888.

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T Reinecke from Calcutta. (found some of his work on the Internet dated 1880-1891).

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David McKenzie Selkirk, born in Dumfries, Scotland in 1809, sailed for South Africa with his wife and child(who died at sea) in the mid 1850’s. Opened his first shop in Rondebosch 1862. In 1863 he settled in Simon’s Town as photographer. Two of his children became professional photographers in the Cape.

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A Shoyer was a commercial photographer active in South Africa. He had studios at: Long and Loop Streets, Cape Town 1878-88; 43 Grave Street, Cape Town 1882-88; 1255 Eloff Street, Johannesburg 1889-91. Shoyer also  had studios with his brother at: 77 Loop Street and 27 Adderley Street, Cape Town 1888-1894.

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See A Shoyer (above).

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The South African Photographic Saloon’s proprietor was Saul Solomon and Co., and was at 42/50 St. Georges Street, Cape Town 1870-1874. Ashley & Son became the new owners in 1870.

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Have nothing on this photographer. Any help will be appreciated

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Active during 1860-1875. Purchased by William. S. Bradshaw & Thomas. P. Godart in 1876. [http://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/Newcombe_LSPGallery.htm]

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James Good Tunny. (1820-1887)
[http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/0_CAR_R/0_cartes_de_visite_tunny_family_photos_1.htm]

 

Sources: Bull, Marjorie & Denfield, Secure the Shadow, 1970. Cape Town.

Carstens, Antenie, Waardevolle Foto-Dokumentering van die Paarl deur Fotograwe van die Tydperk 1871-1950, 1988. Natal Technicon.

http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/rcs_photo_project/homepage.html Accessed 5.7.2013

http://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/Newcombe_LSPGallery.htm Accessed 5.7.2013

© Johann H Claassen 2013

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11 thoughts on “Early photographers of South Africa (and elsewhere)

  1. Wow! Excellent informative article about the pioneer photographers in SA, thoroughly researched. I guess Stella Nova doesn’t fall in the ‘pioneer’ category? Fantasies!

  2. Dankie Martie. Daar is natuurlik nog honderde ander pionier fotograwe maar hierdie paar was deel van twee ou foto albums(180 foto’s) wat op ‘n solder gevind en byna weggegooi was! Ek het toe ‘ n nuwe album saamgestel en sommige van die persone in die kiekies identifiseer en verder nagevors. Nog nie heeltemal klaar daarmee nie maar dit lyk klaar indrukwekkend (al moet ek dit nou self sê).
    🙂

  3. Hello Johann. Ek let op dat die spelling van colour hier ‘verkeerd’ is en gespel word sonder die ‘u’, soos die Amerikaners dit deesdae spel. Die Franse natuurlik het hul eie spelling.
    My tannie May Marin (RIP) was ook vd mense wat swart en wit fotos vd ou dae ingekleur het soos ook op een vd visiete kaarte geadverteer was. Ek self het ook as tiener onder die oog van my tannie May daarmee ‘gespeel’ Dit was gedoen met ‘n spesiale waterverf in sulke klein metaal houertjies, amper soos die wat jy en ek gebruik het om model vliegtuigie mee te verf.
    My oudste seun Pierre was afgeneem in 1974 deur ‘n rondgaande fotograaf wat ook in swart en wit gewerk het en dan dit met die hand ingekleur het om die outentieke gevoel te gee.
    Wonderlike werk wat jy doen Johann, toe ek jou op fb ontmoet het so paar jaar terug was jy nog ‘n ghostbuster soos Boet se en nou doen jy die waardevolle werk ook nog by dit. Great stuff!

    • Dankie Tobie. Jong nee, hierdie is maar waarmee ek my besig hou gedurende my pouses wat ek so deur die loop van die dag neem. Die rokers gebruik dit gewoonlik om te rook. Ek doen nie intensief navorsing oor hierdie goed nie maar omdat ek die klomp foto’s het asook ‘n paar goeie bronne daaroor, gebruik ek dit as ‘n blote afleiding. Ek is maar al te bly as iemand dit darem lees en, soos jy nou so pas die herinneringe teruggeroep het, iets daarby kan voeg.

      Familie navorsing en die grafte is my passie.

  4. Petro on said:

    Hi Johann
    Ek vind ook ‘n paar ander name van fotograwe soos HE Fripp (Beaufort West) ANapier, phot. South Africa en F Chapman, 63 Loopstr, Kaapstad (Marion Imp, Paris) uit baie ou foto’s wat uit die tyd voor 1900 kom. Het jy dalk meer info oor hulle

  5. Hallo Petro (Petro Coreejes-Brink?), van HE FRIPP het ek die volgende: Worcester 1888, Riddlesdells (?) Chambers, Adderley Street. Cape Town 1889-97, Beaufort West 1890-91. Ek het die familie ook iewers in die doopregisters van die Paarl opgetel. Van A NAPIER het ek slegs die volgende: Richmond 1880, Kerk Street North, Johannesburg 1888, 1354 Church Street, Johannesburg 1888-99, P.O. Box 749, Johannesburg. Frederick CHAPMAN(1836-1886), van Liverpool, Eng. se biografie verskyn in die boek, Secure the Shadow van Marjorie Bull en Joseph Denfield.

    Hoop dit kan ‘n bietjie help.
    Beste wense
    Johann

    • Petro Coreejes-Brink on said:

      Johann, baie dankie. As jy wil he ek moet vir jou foto’s e-pos met die name van hierdie fotograwe by, sal ek dit met graagte doen. Ek is baie betrokke by familie geskiedenis in SA en ek glo dat hierdie soort werk van jou ook baie mense sal kan help om soort van dataums by foto’s te kan plaas. Al is dit net binne ‘n bepaalde 10 jaar of so. Kleredrag help nie altyd om die ouderdom van ‘n foto te bepaal nie. Dis ook ‘n studieveld wat mens baie goed moet ken voor jy daaroor gesels. Oor Fripp en Napier. Lyk vir my hulle was werklik baie aktief in die Karoo areas en dit is die areas waar my mens ook vandaan kom

  6. Letty Riding on said:

    Hallo Johann, ek het op jou bladsy beland n.a.v. my soektog na fotograwe van 1800 tot 1900 in Suid Afrika. Ek het redelik baie ou fotos uit my ouma se “skoendoos” fotos. Ongelukkig is daar net 2 met fotograwe se name en plekke op (Norden, Jansenville en Roe, Graaff Reinet) Ander het agter-op net ‘n tekening van ‘n kroon bokant 2 vroue wat mekaar blykbaar groet. Ek het geen manier om die fotos akkuraat binne 10 jaar te identifiseer nie. Kan jy moontlik help? Dankie,

    • Hallo Letty,
      Ek sien jy is ook van die Paarl? Ek is Woensdae tussen 10:00-12:00 by die Drakenstein Heemkring. As jy dalk daar ‘n draai wil kom maak, dan kan ek daarna kyk. Groete. Johann

  7. Letty Riding on said:

    Dankie Johann, Ek is eintlik in Ceres. Ek sal graag daar by julle ‘n draai wil gaan maak. Dit sal egter eers die 2de week in November kan wees – my dagboek is bietjie vol tot dan 🙂 Ek sal die fotos saamneem. Groete tot dan. Letty

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