The newly-released book Hardwicke Knight: Through the Lens is a compilation of colour images of 1950s Britain photographed by Hardwicke Knight (1911-2008). It has been exciting to be part of this project. Followers of Built in Dunedin will be aware of my love of mid-century Kodachrome and these images are all scanned from my collection of Knight’s 35mm slides.
Hardwicke Knight, who died ten years ago this August, will be known to many of you as an author, historian, authority on pioneer New Zealand photography and early Otago architecture, and local Dunedin identity. He was born in London and spent the first half of his life in his native England before coming to Dunedin with his family in 1957 to work as a photographer at Dunedin Hospital. The images in the book were all photographed by Knight in England and Wales in the years prior to his departure, with the earliest dating from about 1950. They were mostly taken in London, the Home Counties, East Anglia, the Cotswolds, Pembrokeshire, and Cornwall. Scenes range from the urban to the rural, architecture to landscape, and portraits to informal street scenes. They have only recently been brought before the public, some in online forums, and now for the first time in book form.
Sean Naghibi of London came up with the idea to showcase the images in a book, and through his enthusiasm, resources, and design skills the project has now come to fruition. I selected, scanned, and arranged the images, and had both fun and frustration trying to identify the subjects of many unlabelled slides. Meg Davidson, who is working on what promises to be a fascinating biography of Knight, has written the introduction. You can see a selection of the images below (click to enlarge).
I couldn’t put it better than Meg, who writes ‘The colour slide images … provide further insights into Knight and his work, demonstrating as they do the deep love he felt for his native country. The images reveal an interest in architecture whether grand or humble, a penchant for street photography and an eye for telling detail that shifted his work from by-the-book pictorialism towards documentary photography’.
The book has been published in England by August Studio in a limited edition of 100 copies and can be purchased for £19.95 (approx. $39.00 NZD) plus postage (£10.00 by air to New Zealand). Size: 220 x 158 mm (landscape). To buy a copy or enquire about the publication visit the website hardwickeknight.com.
David – have ordered this book… do you know of my grandfather, Louis Faigan – the “Prince of Tailors”. whose shop was in George Street? He also founded Faigan’s Store in Millers Flat which is now going strong as a cafe… cheers Julian Faigan (Roslyn, Dunedin)
Thanks very much Julian. I have seen your grandfather’s names in advertisements and directories, but I don’t know of his personal story.
Nice write-up! What David glosses over, modest as always, is the immense number of hours he spent sifting through his thousands of slides to find the images (more than 200) and cleaning them up for publication, as well as doing the detective work necessary to identify the locations and people in them. It was when David posted some of the images online for this purpose that they came to Sean Naghibi’s attention. The slides with old buses and canal boats in particular caused great excitement among UK enthusiasts.
Thank you Meg! Those enthusiasts were very helpful in supplying identifying information.