Hardwicke Knight

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Frederick Hardwicke Knight (12 July 1911, Stoke Newington, England – 25 August 2008, Dunedin, New Zealand) was a prominent author and photographer from Broad Bay, New Zealand. An acknowledged expert on the history of southern New Zealand, he wrote many books related to early Dunedin and Otago.

Knight spent his formative years in England and in France, where he travelled in the 1920s, before becoming a travelling photographer working throughout Europe, notably spending time as a photojournalist in Stalinist Russia. A conscientious objector, Knight did not serve in the military in World War II, instead being part of the emergency medical services, working under Dunedin-born surgeon Harold Gillies.

In 1948, Knight was appointed Director of Medical Photography at Enfield Hospital in England, and in 1957 he emigrated to New Zealand, taking up a position as head of the Medical Photography Department at Otago Medical School. Here he helped develop important photographic techniques for diagnosing eye problems, and in 1965 he was elected president of the New Zealand Institute of Medical Photographers.

Knight was long interested in historical photography, and published numerous books on the subject, starting with Photography in New Zealand a social and technical history (1971). Other notable books include Dunedin then (1974), another book on Dunedin historical photography (Princes Street by gaslight, 1977), and the seven volume series Otago cavalcade, published between 1983 and 1985. He also wrote several biographies of early New Zealand photographers, notably one of the Burton Brothers (Burton Brothers : photographers, 1980) and New Zealand photographers : a selection (1981), and other books on local history such as The ordeal of William Larnach (1981) and Buildings of Dunedin: an illustrated architectural guide to New Zealand's Victorian city (co-written by Niel Wales, 1988). He also produced a volume of his own images (Hardwicke Knight - photographer) in 1983.

Knight was an avid collector and documenter of local history, his home at Broad Bay on Otago Peninsula becoming a virtual museum. A significant part of Knight's collection of over 20,000 items, specifically his collection of works by the Burton brothers and a collection of vintage photographic equipment, was acquired by the New Zealand national museum Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in 1991.

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