George Chance 1885-1963 Gelatin silver prints on mounted card.
An optometrist by occupation, lived in Dunedin. Born 15 May 1885 Liverpool, England. Arrived New Zealand December 1909 and became a landscape photographer. Best known for his sepia-toned photographs of the New Zealand rural landscape in the 1920s and 30s. He sold over 30,000 prints in his day and most found their place on the walls of New Zealand homes. His photographs are now sought after again and valued for their local content as well as for the technical tricks that once made them so controversial. Pictorialism initially surfaced in the late nineteenth century in response to the marketing of cheap cameras. Its proponents used craftsmanship to counter the perception that photography was an entirely mechanical medium. Chance’s rural scenes feel centuries old, immersed and enshrouded as they are in a soft haze - a technical feat gained through exposing the image through a screen and through hand-touching of the negative. The advent of tractors, nostalgia for a passing rural lifestyle ensured the popularity of his images of farmers working the land with horse-drawn ploughs. He would also sometimes introduce a literary or narrative quality to his subjects that has seen his work criticised for contrived sentimentality: The Resting Team, Labourers on the Field, A Wayside Chat, Stately Gums...
Evening Post, 30 November 1933, Page 19 PHOTOGRAPHIC ART
DUNEDIN MAN'S SUCCESS
Dunedin this day. This Day. Another notable success has been scored by the Dunedin photographic artist Mr. George Chance, who has won the silver cup for landscapes at the second international exhibition held by Hong Kong University. The prize winning photograph was "A Summer Day, Canterbury." Mr. Chance has this year won world recognition us a photographer. He had four works hung in the Salon International d'Art Photographique Paris, and works were also accepted for the London.
Summer Day, South Canterbury by George Chance, c. 1933. This photograph is one of Chance’s own favourites, and has hints of the English countryside, although the eucalyptus on the right definitely locates it in the Antipodes.
Cross Roads -2 miles south of Geraldine, drover Fred Gaby.
In the Mackenzie Country - Burke's Pass Road. This is a scenic photograph of a flock of sheep being driven down Burke's Pass Road (1933-1952). Hocken Library.
Mount Cook gelatin silver print exposed through a textured screen title inscribed and signed; original George Chance Camera Study label affixed verso: 225 x 275mm
After Rain, South Canterbury Photograph, signed, 22.5 x 27.5 cm Mt Cook from the Hermitage Photograph, signed, 24 x 26 cm Ploughing, South Canterbury Silver gelatin print, title inscribed and signed, 23 x 28 cm Harvest - South Canterbury Gelatin silver print, signed and entitled, 21 x 25.5 cm Autumn in South Canterbury Photograph, signed, 22.6 x 27.6 cm Autumn - South Canterbury Photograph, signed and titled, 28 x 22 cm Autumn Day - South Canterbury Photograph, signed and titled, 23 x 28 cm Autumn in South Canterbury Photograph, signed, 22 x 28 cm Autumn in South Canterbury Gelatin silver photographic print, signed and titled Summer Day - South Canterbury Photograph, signed and entitled, 20.5 x 25.5 cm Evening Sunshine, Near Geraldine Photograph, signed and titled, 21 x 26 cm Evening Sunshine, Near Geraldine Silver gelatin print, signed and entitled Rainbow, South Canterbury Gelatin silver print, titled and signed, 23 x 28 cm On the Road to Mt. Cook Gelatin silver print, signed and entitled Mounts Tasman and Cook from Lake Matheson Silver gelatin print, signed and entitled