In 1958 I was appointed Historian for the Professional Photographers Association.
The previous person was Ken Niven and he wished to pass the responsibility on to somebody else. The Association had purchased a tape recorder for him to collect information from photographers and this tape recorder was set around the photographers for them to record their memories.
As far as I'm aware some of these tapes were transcribed by non-professional people and I'm not aware of their location.
I quite frankly did not know what to do, or where to start, so my first step, and I admit my only step, was to purchase for myself a Olympus and digital voice recorder, and this I started using as I wandered around New Zealand doing interviews with all the members of our Association and photography in general. at the time of the publication of this book I had completed 23 interviews.
The criteria on who to interview was chosen by myself, and I decided that I should be interviewing the generation that preceded me in photography or those who had served an apprenticeship with a noted photographer now deceased.
In every occasion I directed my questions towards the memories that the interviewees had of the older established studios throughout New Zealand, and I was particularly pleased when I found out the chain of ownership from one photographer to another.
My intention was, as they were compressed digital files, to place them on a DVD, make many copies of them and pass them around various people with the thought that one may survive for a period of about 40 or 50 years when perhaps some person might do their doctorate on the subject on Professional Photographers in the 20th century.
I had become very aware, through my interviews with the various photographers that I was already in possession of more knowledge and information about photographers throughout New Zealand than most other people connected to Professional Photography and this of course was the result of travelling throughout New Zealand for about 15 plus years visiting photographers on a business and personal level.
There it would have stayed, but for the movement and technology and computerisation that allowed a book to be formatted within certain specifications and one copy printed for, what I thought was, a very reasonable amount of money, and I was also aware that if I did not do this book probably nothing would ever happen!
As I had a major collection of association photos from conferences to which I had added several years ago the collection of Elga Hinton from whom I bought Thorpe Studio, and who was a Past President and Life Member of the Association I had a good starting point for the front of the book which I decided would be group photos from 1938.
There is always a time to go from any organisation, and having heard older members waffling on about the past. I had believed that the association only had the quality of the photographers work to promote to the public of New Zealand, and I believed that the print judging should be the main advertising and promoting tool that the association could offer their members, after many years it was obvious that I was the only one of this opinion. We also had a healthy surplus of funds in our accounts and I believe that we should use that money to purchase a building for headquarters and again it appeared that I was the only one of this belief, and when the following President blew that healthy surplus and placed the institute in debt….
So when I found continually that the membership was wanting to move in a direction which left me being the odd person out, I recalled the old saying,” when the rest of the world is mad it is time to start looking at yourself” so that was the time to go, and this of course locked in the uppermost date as being 1992.
So consequently this book covers the period from 1938 to 1992, has every group photo for this period except for 1940 1975 1979, however if these do turn up there will be added to future copies of the publication.
This book has been totally funded by myself, and I have been responsible for all of the production costs, it is being produced by Blurb a publishing company in America we it you can order books like this on a one off basis as required.