George Chance and pictorialism

George Chance, Summer Day, South Canterbury, c. 1933.

As photography matured, practitioners started toying with artistic approaches. Around the turn of the 20th century the mode du jour was pictorialism, a style that stressed atmosphere over subject matter.

An optometrist by occupation, George Chance flew the flag for pictorialism in New Zealand, producing some beautiful, iconic, and popular images. Chance moved here from England in 1909 and always retained some of the mother country in his heart, although evoking an Englishness was also one of the common elements of pictorialism.

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.

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