A Cape Camera


A Cape Camera
Hans Fransen

ISBN 9780868522210

Arthur Elliott was thirty years of age and of no settled profession when in 1900 he was given a quarter-plate camera as a present. Soon the main interest of this adventurous self-made American was recording the historic landmarks in Cape Town and its surroundings, with an unfailing eye for the essential that no photographer trying to capture the atmosphere of the old Cape has ever been able to equal.

The Elliott collection is one of the most remarkable photographic collections in the world. The qualities that make Elliot’s photographs of old Cape scenes so memorable have something to do with the way the sunlight strikes the irregularity of the white plastered walls; with the way Elliott introduced the human element into his photographs; but mostly with the way his camera conveyed that delicate balance between picturesque dilapidation and unselfconscious prosperity that used to characterise Cape domestic architecture.

Elliott’s rare rapport with his subject is complemented by a knowledgeable and affectionate commentary from a noted expert and enthusiast on the subject of South Africa’s artistic and cultural heritage, Hans Fransen.

The Author


Hans Fransen was born in Amsterdam and came to South Africa in 1955. He has been involved in South African Arts and culture ever since, as curator of the Stellenbosch Museum and Groot Constantia, assistant Director of the South African National Gallery and now Director of the Michaelis Art Collection, Cape Town. He also lectured in Art History at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg, where he obtained his Phd in Art History. His numerous publications include The Old Buildings of the Cape (1980) and Three Centuries of South African Art (1981).


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