THROUGH THE LENS is a fascinating compilation of colour slide images by Hardwicke Knight that will transport you back to the England of the 1950s: an England of royal celebrations, London street scenes, villages unsullied by tourism and modes of transport and architecture now swept away by the tides of time.
Frederic Hardwicke Knight, born in London in 1911, spent the second half of his long, eventful life in New Zealand but retained a profound love for the country of his birth. His eye for telling detail shifted his work from by-the-book pictorialism towards documentary photography.
This fascinating compilation comes from collaborators on opposite sides of the globe, drawn together by the artistry of Knight's work and a recognition of its importance as social documentary.
My name is Sean Naghibi and I am a London-based web designer with a passion for photography and history. One day, out of pure chance while browsing social media for information about Hardwicke Knight, I became acquainted with David Murray, the curator of a Facebook page exploring the built heritage of Dunedin, New Zealand, where Hardwicke Knight spent the second half of his life. David was already posting images from his private collection of Knight’s colour slides.
I have a special love for mid-century Kodachrome photography and conceived the idea of compiling a selection of Knight’s 1950s work, captured in his native England.
I approached David to ask whether he would be interested in a possible collaboration. Because of work and family commitments David was a little reluctant at first, but after some persistence on my part he finally agreed, although with no promises in terms of deadlines. A year passed without any plan on how to proceed with the publication. Of course, with David living in New Zealand and me living in London, it was hard to access the files I needed to get started. Given the fact that slides are truly irreplaceable, David was apprehensive about shipping them to me here in England.
To get the project off the ground he supplied images he had already scanned, including 60 depicting England and Wales. He later selected and supplied over 150 further images. THROUGH THE LENS was born! David kindly introduced me to Knight’s biographer, Dunedin writer Meg Davidson. She graciously offered to lend her expertise and wrote the Introduction for this book.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank both David and Meg for making it possible for this book to be brought to life. I would especially like to thank Simon Knight, who generously gave his permission to use his father’s photographs without any hesitation. And lastly I would like to thank Rory, Scott and Nutsa who have supported me throughout this project through their written and technical input.