Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 16. August 2, 1939
When a photographic exhibition is undertaken it implies that work of such a standard is forthcoming as to make the collection of photographs something more than a more display. Judged by this consideration it can be said that the recent function of the Photographic Club was a successful exhibition. That is not to say that the exhibits were universally good, for they were not—some in fact were very poor. There was, however, a sufficient number of good photos, which, by reason of technique, conception, and presentation, could be classed as pictures and not as enlarged snapshots.
Those whose work was consistently outstanding in this direction were A. D. Fair, T. W. Halt. J. Hannah, and S. B. Whitlock, while several others had individual photos of eminence. Undoubtedly the most striking photo was Fair's "Business Head." a clever piece of super-imposition extremely well executed. Of outstanding interest also was his "Students." Apart from being one of the few attempts at portraying 'Varsity life, it was characterised by good conception and highly successfull presentation. Fair also exhibited others of superior technique, but, compared with those mentioned, lacking in originality, while his micro-photographs would have been better on black and white glossy instead of sepia matt.
From the point, of view of [unclear: technique] the laurels went to T. W. Rait as displayed in "Old Timer" and "Dim Religious Light." The rich blacks of the former were not approached by another print there. Yet, though there was a good gradation of tone, this photo was too sombre. "Dim Religious Light." a difficult subject well handled, was spoilt by the heavy and unbalanced black mass on the left-hand side.
For J. Hannah's seascapes high praise is deserved. Possessing immediate appeal and therefore constantly photographed, breaking waves are somewhat hackneyed as subjects, while it is extremely difficult to convey the sense of liquidity. In his three studies Hannah has been most successful in capturing this atmosphere, and in "Restless" his work has a fine simplicity and restraint. The most outstanding study shown by Whitlock was "When lowering cloud banks . . ." which was a skilful handling of a distinctive silhouette (a hay rake) against a heavy sky. The composition of this picture was of lasting satisfaction. Another admirable study by the same photographer, "Ensign." suffered from over-correction, and the same fault could be found with other photos such as Ombler's "Three Silent Pinnacles" and Berge's "Tall Spin." A print meriting great praise was S. Johnston's "Quo Vadis?" The conception of this picture of Thorndon Ramp was most original and well rendered, though it suffered slightly from excessive background. Two exhibitors showing a large number of prints were Eiby and Cardale, but the work of both suffered from lack of crispness. Of Hughan's work the two most successful were "Land Hungry" and "And Ships Are Few."
We do not Like:
The predominance of landscapes and the paucity of portraits was not an unexpected feature of the exhibition, but it was a great pity that such portraits as were shown should have been so stilted and conventional. The traditional pose requires outstanding technique for it to possess any freshness, while it seldom conveys an impression of a personality. [unclear: At] the other and, "candid" photography offers wide scope in this direction. More attention should also be given to straightening prints and mounts. In the arrangement, titling and lighting of the exhibits the committee are to be heartily congratulated.
"No doubt your wife has often expressed the desire to earn—er—to own a furcoat."—2ZB, 10 p.m., 2/6/1939.