Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Business Winds Down

In 1953, Hardman's business begins to struggle and as the number of clients dwindled, he applied for numerous jobs to supplement his income. The jobs he applied for included a job with Kodak, a position as senior lecturer at Guildford's School and as a secretary to the Bluecoat Society of Arts.

It was during this time that Kenneth Burrell died in 1953 - although his association with the business had ceased completely in 1929, the pair remained friends and kept in regular contact.

In 1958 (also the year Hardman's mother passed away) the decision was made to close the Chester Studio as it was no longer financially viable. The Rodney Street Studio remained open until 1965, when Hardman officially retired, although he did still take portraits if they were requested. At this time, the annual turnover for the business was at £900 per annum and only part-time assistants were employed. Hardman was also teaching photographic classes for the Army to subsidise his income.

Edward Chambre Hardman with Rolleiflex, taken by Mrs Hewlett in 1969

It was during one of these evening photography classes at Chester Army Barracks in 1969, that the well-known image of Hardman with his Rolleiflex was taken. For the assessment at the end of the course, each student was required to take a portrait of another member of the group. Due to the fact that there was an odd number of students, Mrs Hewlett (who was the wife of the course organiser Colonel Hewlett) was paired with Mr Hardman. For many years, the photograph was incorrectly attributed to Margaret Hardman.

Here are just a few of the photographs taken during Hardman's evening classes at the barracks:

Abstract Pattern - taken during the 1950s
 This pattern was made using the light traces created by a swinging pendulum. Hardman's notes on the back of the prine read:  'A very wide field of Photography is covered in the Army Photographic Classes.'

Combs and Shadows - taken in the 1950s
This photograph shows combs arranged on a table with light shining through them to create interesting shadows. This was a piece created as a class exercise in table top photography at the Army Photography Class Hardman ran in Chester.

Illustration for Christmas Card - taken in the 1950s
This photograph is another table top photograph taken at the Army Photography Class Hardman ran in Chester. It is labelled 'Illustration for Christmas Card, Class Exercise in Table Top Photography, No. 26 A.E.C. Photography Classes’

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