A new exhibition of work by E Chambré Hardman reveals his love of landscape photography, Laura Davis reports
FANS of Edward Chambré Hardman in Liverpool best know him for his atmospheric photographs of the city – the little boy with one slumped sock walking down a hill towards the looming Ark Royal; the murderous sky brooding above the rain beaten steps of the Walker Art Gallery.
The Irish-born photographer made his living taking portraits in the studio of his Rodney Street home, now operated by the National Trust, but it was landscapes that he and his wife Margaret were most passionate about.
A series of these, taken over a 40-year period and depicting the scenes both of wilderness and pastoral, are brought together in the Open Eye Gallery’s latest archive exhibition.
Curated by Julia García Hernández, it is delivered in partnership with the National Trust and will tour to the Hardmans’s Rodney Street house in spring 2013.
The exhibition’s original location, in the Mann Island gallery, is particularly fitting as Hardman’s entire photographic output would have been lost were it not for the intervention of Peter Hagerty, then the Open Eye’s director.
He played a pivotal role in saving this archive, dedicating many years to cataloguing, conserving, and contextualising his work.
Born in 1898, Hardman’s photography business flourished from the 1920s to the 1960s, when Liverpool was influencing the world with its industrial, commercial and maritime activities.
The early-30s marked a turning point in his work as he began to develop his passion for picturing the varied British landscape.
He died in 1988 and, in 2002, the National Trust acquired the building after a four-year campaign by the Liverpool Post to save the archive and Hardman’s “time-capsule” studio-home at 59 Rodney Street.
The E Chambré Hardman archive of photographs and associated ephemera will be available to view in Liverpool’s Central Library from 2013.
E CHAMBRE HARDMAN is at the Open Eye Gallery until February 17, 2013.