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Ichiro Kagiyama and Harold Cazneaux  


Josie Johnson
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 12

Dear Melissa,

Thank you so much for a wonderful and thought-provoking talk. I was especially excited to learn about Ichiro Kagiyama and Harold Cazneaux--both of them are new to me, and produced some really striking photographs for the magazines in your talk. Would you have any additional reading to suggest on either one?

A quick internet search of Cazneaux shows that he is best known for his work as pictorialist photographer in the 1910s. I have been thinking a lot about the relationship between pictorialism and modernist photography, and he seems like an excellent example of a photographer that transitioned between the two and applied his pictorialist training to more modern subjects. Do you know anything more about this part of his career?

As for Kagiyama, I'm particularly curious about his wider circle of contacts. Do you think he might have been following the experiments in photography at the Bauhaus, which included other Japanese photographers like Iwao Yamawaki? Within Australia, have you come across other Japanese photographers who were actively pursuing careers in commercial photography on the level of Kagiyama, or was he more of an outlier? 

Lastly, in keeping with your wonderful suggestion to pay attention to what is not reproduced in magazines as much as what is, do you have a sense of whether these photographers created these bodies of work in response to magazine demand, or did they make these photographs more on their own initiative, then the magazines took an interest? Put a bit differently, do you know how the photographs from these magazines fit into their larger body of work during this period?

Now that I've typed all this out, I realize this is quite a large number of questions--feel free not to answer it all. Any additional information you have will be most appreciated. Thanks again!


Melissa Miles
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 2

Hi Josie,

Thank you for your questions and kind words. I can suggest quite a bit of additional reading to keep you busy!

Cazneaux is perhaps Australia’s most well known Pictorialist photographer, and there has been quite a bit published about his work. For example:

  • Ennis, Helen. Cazneaux: The Quiet Observer. Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1994.
  • Bullock, Natasha, ed. Harold Cazneaux: Artist in Photography. Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2008.
  • Dupain, Max. Cazneaux: Photographs by Harold Cazneaux 1878-1953 Selected and with an Appreciation by Max Dupain. Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1978.
  • Edwards, Zeny. Sunlight and Shadow: The Lifework of Harold Cazneaux. Sydney: Zeny Edwards, 1996.

I’m also attaching a catalogue for an exhibition I curated. The essay addresses these links between Pictorialism and modernism. I would argue against the idea of a 'transition' between pictorialism and modernism, as though the history was linear and one directional. In Australia, photographers were working in both modes during the same period, often in ways that overlapped. For example, some of Cazneaux's Pictorialist photographs have what we might describe as modernist elements. There is a bit more information about those connections in the attached catalogue essay.

Kagiyama is less well known. I have published a bit about him and there is a catalogue about one of his friends who also worked as a photographer in Sydney at the time, Kiichiro Ishida. Ishida was more well known than Kagiyama. He was a member of the Sydney Camera Circle and his work was published in Photograms of the Year. Please see the reading suggestions below:

  • Mitsuda, Yuri. Modernism / Japonism in Photography 1920s-40s. Kiichiro Ishida and Sydney Camera Circle. Tokyo: Shoto Museum of Art, 2002.
  • Annear, Judy. "Kiichiro Ishida and the Sydney Camera Circle." Look (December 2003): 18-19.
  • Miles, Melissa. "Through Japanese Eyes: Ichiro Kagiyama and Australian-Japanese Relations in the 1920s and 1930s." History of Photography 38, no. 4 (2014): 356-78.
  • Miles, Melissa. "Ichiro Kagiyama in Early Twentieth Century Sydney." Japanese Studies 37, no. 1 (2017): 89-116.

Kagiyama and Cazneaux were both members of the Photographic Society of NSW, which presented lectures about all kinds of photography practices and shared ideas amongst members. Members were also keen consumers of photography magazines. Ishida's and Cazneaux's work often featured in Photograms of the Year, alongside with of many other photographers. So it is very likely that they would have read this magazine. But I can't be sure about man of the other international photography magazines around at the time.

Some of the spreads in The Home would have been the products of the photographers' own initiative, and others would have been commissioned by the editors. I don't have access to clear documentation that would absolutely prove which is which. But there were times when the magazine published images that we know overlapped with other commissions or artistic projects. The Home was interested in publishing more experimental work as well as documentary style photographs of society people and their homes. There wasn't necessarily a fixed or hard line dividing the photographers' commercial practice and their art practice. The operated across both domains, and The Home brought the two together in many ways.

I hope this helps. 




Josie Johnson
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 12

Dear Melissa,

Thank you so much for all this additional information and all the reading suggestions. I'm excited to dig in! And I completely agree--"transition" was the wrong word to use, not only because it elides the temporal overlaps you mentioned, but also because it hints at a sense of progression from "bad" pictorialism to "good" modernisim that photo history is still struggling to reassess. 

Thanks again,