16 December 2007

The big question

The big question that has yet to be answered is . . . "was Henry Keyse a photographer?". I have credited Henry Keyse (HGK) as the photographer of a series of Pitcairn photographs that were published as postcards and used in the 1920s and 1930s by passengers on the New Zealand Shipping Company (NZSC) vessels.

There is a strong case that the photographer of these Pitcairn views was in fact David James Aldersley, a professional photographer from New Zealand.

There are three possibilities:

(1) Henry Keyse (HGK), while working as a barber on board the vessels of the NZSC, visited the island and took photographs of the islanders which he sold to passengers as postcards. I have evidence that HGK was on board several NZSC vessels. I also have evidence that a barber (name not known) visited Pitcairn and took some photographs of the islanders at about the right time period. I have evidence that a barber (name not known) of the NZSC undertook to process passengers' photographs.

(2) David Aldersley visited Pitcairn and took the photographs. He then printed them on postcard paper and allowed HGK to sell them to passengers with the inscription "Copyright HGK" included in the caption. I have not yet seen David Aldersley on passenger lists of the NZSC. David Aldersley was a well-known and accomplished photographer whose wonderful pictures of New Zealand views are sought after by collectors through eBay. The handwriting on David Aldersley's photographs is identical to the handriting on the Henry Keyse photographs.

(3) Henry Keyse took the photographs and David Aldersley printed them up at his New Zealand studio for HGK to sell on board ship as postcards.

I would be very grateful if anyone with more information would contact me.

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