South Australia, Australia 1863 – 1945
Harvest-time c.1910 Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph toned chloro-bromide
With improvements in the ease and cost of making photographs throughout the 1890s, photographic societies flourished and a distinct movement of art photographers arose among the legions of amateurs. In the late 1890s, John Kauffmann returned to Adelaide from Europe and showed some of the first examples in Australia of the new soft-focus art photography. Other local photographers were already interested in developing photography as an art. One of the new wave was Frederick Joyner, a lawyer by profession and also a skilled plant breeder who experimented with new varieties on his property at Bridgewater in the Adelaide Hills. He began exhibiting his photographs in 1894 and was one of the most active members of the South Australian photographic scene, from the turn of the century through to the First World War and, after a break, again in the late 1920s. He was a pioneer colour photographer and a supporter and adviser to the young painter Hans Heysen.
Joyner made a series of photographs of ‘Harvest time’, some showing the handyman at Bridgewater. The old man is shown with a scythe and probably used this tool, but he is also the traditional allegorical representation of Time. Modern machine harvesting is not shown and the scenes evoke the passing of the old ways. Joyner’s prints were made on toned matt finish papers, designed to soften down the detail and contrast of the negative, so that the prints also seemed to come from another time and encourage reverie.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002