A Cape Camera

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A photo of a book and a photo, an old photo, of a dapper man in top hat and tails.


The two are said to be connected…. The gentleman is my grandfather, James Stewart Cruickshank. The book is a collection of photographs by the acclaimed photographer Arthur Elliott. The photos are housed in the Cape Archives and date back to around 1900. The connection… my Granddad was one of the first photographers in the Cape Colony when he arrive from Scotland in 1890. When he died in 1926 (my Dad was only 3) his wife (my grandmother) gave all the glass negatives of all his photographs to his good friend Arthur Elliot, who was an outstanding photographer living in the Cape. The story goes that in the years following my Grandfather’s death my Grandmother would often point out published photos, in the name of Arthur Elliott, as been photos taken by my Granddad – there were no hard feelings I’m told. It’s just what it was.

Just last weekend we took this book down from the bookshelf for my youngest daughter to use in her surname project for school. We haven’t looked at it in ages. Today I went to do a shoot at an architect firm in town and sitting on their reception table was this book.

I had no idea that my Grandfather was a photographer when I embarked on this career and passion.

The Elliot collection today is one of the most remarkable collections in the world.