Sunday, 29 March 2015

Researching Edward Chambre Hardman's work.

Since starting out with the Brownie Reflex Camera I knew at some point I wanted to do a project with the camera to capture something unique and different was on my list...  

Having looked firstly to see if I could find any others who are using such cameras I'd drawn a blank.  I was somewhat disappointed at this discovery as I'm sure there must be more photographers out there either using them or has one or two hidden in their attic or even on display but not used anymore.

This little camera is a joy to use and dare I say a gem like a diamond that needed to be used and seen again in the World of Photographers.  

Now a new journey begins as I've been and am looking at Edward Charmbre Hardman who was a photographer in Liverpool in the early 1930's.

Edward Chambre Hardman was born in Dublin 1898 an only son he learned photography from his father.   Edward took his first photographs as a 9 year old and went on to win many competitions.  At the time no thought was given to if this would be a future career. However his parents had hoped he would accept a commission to work as a Regular Officer in the Gurkha Rifles.

While serving in India Edward became friends with Kenneth Burrell and they both discovered that they had similar passions / love of photography.  From then onwards they both shared this passion with each other and planned upon returning to the United Kingdom to set up a business in Liverpool.

They stayed true to their word and set up a studio in Liverpool in 1923.  The studio was set up to administer portraits to the people of Liverool as it seemed to be there was quite a lot of competition between other local businesses offering the same to the people of that city so the business fell on hard times both Hardman and Burrell struggled in the early years.

As time moved on this opened up an opportunity for Hardman to explore other areas within the photographic sector and while doing this he became a member of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS).  Hardman was able to produce exhibition standard images and proudly was able to exhibit his work on many occasions with the RPS.  The studio continued to focus on offering portraits, Hardman also began to look at ways of increasing his photography in Architecture which in turn became part of Hardmans professional portfolio - during this period he photographed many of Liverpools great buildings as well as shipping scenes and mercy docks.

At some point along the way Hardman lost interest in his photography and began to pursue alternative careers elsewhere.

As time passed Hardman came back to his photography and began to explore it once again which in turn resulted in being successful and was able to open another photographic business in Chester.  He began to work between Liverpool and Chester keeping both businesses going which in turn resulted in moving to a bigger venue that would be suitable for the business 59 Rodney Street, Liverpool.   This very place became Hardmans home where he spent the rest of his life.  

Having looked at Hardmans life as a photographer it seemed to be the Portraits were his bread and butter where as his landscapes were his main passion but the landscapes didn't bring in enough money to support himself and his wife.  There are some story about them both cycling to the train station in Liverpool often to board the train for the Lake District or further afield to Scotland on photographic trips to capture the beautiful landscapes around them.  

Hardman continued the rest of his life as a professional photographer in Liverpool and his home at 59 Rodney Street remins to this day as he left it.  The National Trust has safe guarded his home and it is what I would call a natural treasure to the people of Liverpool it's Hardmans legacy to that city.  A story of the past and the future in the making to Liverpool.  Upon Hardmans last years he spent many hours talking with Redeye who are still based in the city they promised to preserve his work and home along with the National Trust.  

Edward Chambre Hardman died in 1988 in Liverpool.

Yet his legacy and testimony has been left to the people and culture of Liverpool.

I have yet to view this studio and home of Edward it is classified as the magic house and one must go and see for yourself....I will visit this place very soon and have been given permission to photograph this amazing place as its like walking back into the 1950's era.

On my next blog I will post some images from that trip and I plan to source more information on Hardman.

If I have made any mistakes or got dates / places wrong please feel free to correct me.

Below is one of his most iconic photographs of all time taken from birkenhead looking towards the Ark Royal being built at camel lairds.  

Edward Chambre Hardman Trust (2007) Liverpool Through The Lens
available at:
(Accessed: 30 March 2015).

E.Chambre Hardman (2014) Wikipedia.
Available at:é_Hardman
(Accessed: 30 March 2015)

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