Gordon H. Burt, Ltd.

Commercial photography firm, founded in 1924 by Gordon H. Burt.

Gordon H. Burt, Ltd. was a commercial photography business operated by Wellington-based photographer Gordon Burt from 1924 to the 1980s. Burt started out in the photography business in 1915, having been turned down for military service. The business initially focused on portraiture, as this was the stock-in-trade of commercial photographers in the ‘20s. However, the new technology for printing and distributing photographs in newspapers, magazines and other media, coupled with the rapid advances in mass-production of commodities, led to a new demand for advertising photographs—a demand that Burt capitalised on, growing his firm into the country’s biggest commercial photography studio. At one point, Burt had more than a dozen employees, many of whom later went on to found photographic businesses of their own. In 1970 the company moved headquarters, leaving behind a substantial archive of negatives, including glass plates dating back to the ‘20s, which were rescued from destruction by Wellington’s Dominon Museum and the Alexander Turnbull Library. All told, there are over ten thousand negatives in this collection, which constitutes a valuable document of the evolution of advertising and commercial photography in New Zealand.

Auction Results

untitled

c. 1939

gelatin silver print

300mm x 380mm

Achieved $660.69

untitled

c. 1939

gelatin silver print

300mm x 380mm

Achieved $780.81