Former F.J. Denton Photography Studio, 128 Victoria Avenue, Wanganui 1988

Richard Wotton, Artist

This is one of the photographs in our collection. It was made in Whanganui, Whanganui Region, New Zealand in 1988.
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About the Work
"Wotton’s interiors always have an uncanny way of building presence through absence. What is in the frame (wooden beams, doors and the remains of photographic gear), hints at what was. Mirroring this time warp, Wotton’s image of Frank Denton’s delipidated photographic studio points to lengthy chronology of Whanganui photographers."
- Anique Jayasinghe, 'My Choice' exhibition series, November 2022

This is a former photographic studio located at 128 Victoria Avenue Whanganui. The premises were purpose-built for photographer Frank Denton who occupied it from 1911-1927. The studio was distinctive because it had a small third floor tower-like room designed for daylight printing.

In 1927 Denton sold his studio and the business to Mark Lampe (who had already established Tesla Studios in 1908 in Ridgway Street). The business was renamed Tesla-Denton Studios.

In 1932-1933 the premises were purchased by photographer Thomas Metcalfe who established his own business there (Lampe's business reverted to Tesla Studios).
In 1967 Metcalfe sold the business to James White and John Bourne who traded as Wybon Studios. John Bourne moved into photographic retail and Huge Perry joined James White in a short partnership before James White moved to join Bill Lindberg in Hamilton (then finally settled in Napier). Hugh Perry continued to run the studio for a short time before moving the Christchurch in 1973 (to be photographer for the Presbyterian Church), he sold the business to John Souter, who eventually left the building for other premises on Victoria Avenue.

In 1989, after a fire in the adjacent building which weakened the structure, the studio at 128 Victoria Avenue was demolished.

Ref: Peter Ireland, Frank Denton Photographer in Time of Transition, 2003 and Hugh Perry, Towards 75 Years of Organisition of Professional Photography: The NZ Institute of Professional Photography Story, 2018.
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Image 190 x 240mm
selenium-toned silver gelatin print
Image of interior of Frank Denton's former studio at 128 Victoria Avenue which he occupied from 1911-1927. The studio was subsequently occupied by other photographic businesses including Mark Lampe's Tesla-Denton Studios and Thomas Metcalfe then Wybon Studios. Image shows a large room with wooden beams in the ceiling, assorted gear scattered around the wall and carpet laid out on the floor.
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery, Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Purchased, 1999
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
10 Dec 1999



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