Milton Kent (photographer)

From article I added to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2018.10

Milton Kent was a pioneer of industrial and aerial photography, a prize-winning airman and a champion sculler. Initially, Kent worked as a sports photographer but by the 1920s he had embraced aerial photography using a specially crafted oblique camera. Over the next 50 years, Kent used his camera to capture the opening of new blocks of land across Sydney, the construction of the harbour bridge and panoply of other events right through to 1971.

Early life

Milton’s father, Charles Kent, was born in Collingwood, Victoria in 1862.[1] Charles was a photographer who bought his photo business from Murrell & Co. and operated from a building at 314 George Street, Sydney.[2] Milton was born above this studio in 1888 and from the age of ten was apprenticed to his father.[3]

Career

In 1909 Milton set up his own commercial business and his first contract was to photograph the fighter R. L. ‘Snowy’ Baker at the Rushcutters Bay Stadium. His Mentor camera could capture the action, but the old plate films and poor lighting inhibited indoor shots. Instead, he took his photos in the sunlit passages around the bleachers.[4] Between 1914 and 1918 he photographed boxers in fighting poses, including Sid Francis; Jimmy Hill; Herb McCoy; Jeff Smith; and Les Darcy.[5]

In Sydney, the motor industry was in its infancy and Milton found work with many of the early people working in the trade. These businessmen, in turn, recommended Milton their friends and along with the fact he delivered excellent results his business grew from strength to strength. In the years before the outbreak of World War One, he rode a motorcycle to jobs.[6]

In 1911, he married Lillian Cropper, the daughter of an ex-mayor of Petersham but still found time to engage with the other love of his life, flying.[7] As early as 1912 he made box-kites modelled on the designs by Lawrence Hargrave and he was later introduced to the aviator William Hart.[8]Alert to the possibilities of aerial photography Kent took some images during one of Hart’s flights using rapid panchromatic glass plates.[9] In 1916, he was appointed official photographer to the State Government Aviation School at Richmond Sydney and became firm friends with the chief instructor, Captain W. J. Strutt. While not officially allowed to fly planes Kent learnt ‘under the lap’ while on photographic patrols around Sydney but was not allowed to land or take off.[10]

It was during this time that Kent learnt about oblique aerial photography at altitudes from 500 to 5000 feet. The greatest problem was the lack of sensitivity of the plates which meant operating on full aperture at around 1/200th of a second and images could only be taken in full sunlight with no cloud.[11]

This phase of his aerial activities ended when Strutt disappeared in a flight over the Bass Strait.  But Kent was convinced there was a market in aerial photography and over this period, he hired aircraft from Nigel Love, to do photographic work.[12]

In 1918 Love had purchased land at Mascot and formed the Australian Aircraft and Engineering Company. He erected a canvas hanger on the site which went on to become Sydney Airport. 1918 also saw Charles Kent handed over his business to his son before he moved to Queensland.[13]

Pastoral Finance Association building, Kirribilli, North Sydney, circa 1921, Milton Kent

In 1920, Kent imported a half-plate oblique aero camera from [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Zeiss_AG Carl Zeiss AG] in Germany for factory projects and real estate subdivisions. In 1921 aerial views of Kirribilli and Circular Quay by Kent appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald and 3 years later they published one of the more gruesome events which Kent covered.[14] This was the aerial view of the area around Long Bay Correctional Centre where the body of a woman was found in May 1924.[15]

In 1920 his son Lindsey was born, and he won the Mile Sculling Championship of New South Wales. It was also the year the New South Wales Aero Club was formed, and Milton was one of the first pupils after joining the club around 1924.[16] He was awarded his licence in November 1926.[17]

In 1927, he bought a Westland Widgeon two-seater monoplane with silver wings and a blue two-toned fuselage.[18] Kent felt the single wing gave a clearer view for his photographic work.[19] On 12 November 1927, he used the plane to win the speed championship at the Aerial Derby in Queensland.[20] The following year he tried to break the plane speed record from Sydney to Brisbane. Unfortunately, his motor cut out over Broken Bay and he was forced to crash-land his plane on a nearby cliff.[21] Kent and his co-pilot Larry Phipps were not injured although the plane needed to be dismantled and carried through dense scrub to the nearest road.[22] In June 1928, he and Captain Boyden took photographs of Charles Kingsford Smith’s [Southern Cross (aircraft) ‘Southern Cross’] as it came in to land at Sydney. And in 1930 he did the same when Chichester arrived in Sydney after his solo flight from England.[23]

For some years he was an aerial photographer for the Sydney Morning Herald and he photographed the Rothbury Riots in Northern New South Wales coalfields for them. Kent submitted a series of 24 aerial photographs to an aerial photograph competition held by the Photographers Association of America in 1929 and received one of the highest awards from the association.[24] For some years he was an aerial photographer for the Sydney Morning Herald and photographed the Rothbury Riots in Northern New South Wales coalfields for them.[25]

By the 1940s Kent was the principal aerial photographer in Sydney and his work was reproduced in thousands of advertisements in newspapers and magazines.[26]

Final Days

By 1953 his son Lionel was working with his father and the company had been renamed Milton Kent and Son. Their studio was beside his home at 19 O’Conner St, Haberfield, Sydney.[27] Kent continued to work with his son until 1961 when he retired.[28] When he died in 1965 he left behind his wife Lillian and their three children Freda, Gweneth and Lindsey.[29] Lindsey continued to manage the studio up until 1989 when he sold the business and thousands of negatives to Ernest Dorn.[30]

Collections

State Library of New South WalesMilton Kent aggregated collection of negatives, chiefly aerial views of Sydney, ca. 1920-1982.

Series 01 Part 01: Milton Kent glass negatives of aerial views of Sydney, 1920-1970 | Series ( Contains 38 items ) Series 01 Part 02: Milton Kent glass negatives of aerial views of Sydney, 1930-1970 | Series ( Contains 33 items ) Series 01 Part 03: Milton Kent glass negatives of aerial views of Sydney, 1940-1967 | Series ( Contains 50 items ) Series 01 Part 04: Milton Kent glass negatives of aerial views of Sydney, 1950-1972 | Series ( Contains 90 items ) Series 01 Part 05: Milton Kent glass negatives of aerial views of Sydney, 1960-1974 | Series ( Contains 14 items ) Series 01 Part 06: Milton Kent glass negatives of aerial views of Sydney 1970-1972 and undated sequence | Series 02: Milton Kent film negatives and transparencies of Sydney factories, industrial plant and products for company publications, 1970-1982 | Series ( Contains 8 items ) Series 03: Milton Kent film negatives and transparencies of aerial views of Sydney, 1971-1978 and undated | ON 521 Series 04: Milton Kent film negatives and transparencies taken for clients, chiefly undated Series 05: Milton Kent miscellaneous film negatives and transparencies, chiefly undated

References

  • A Modern Ariel with a camera, People [magazine], 15 July 1953, pp. 24-27
  • Hunt Graham, ‘Milton Kent, Aerial and Commercial Photographer, 1888-1965’, Ashfield’s Men of Mark, Ashfield History No. 16, Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc., 2006
  • How Milton Kent Swam to Recover His Dead Pal’s Body (1929, November 18). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 – 1930), p. 3. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article246821879
  • Fishing Record at Jervis Bay (1937, June 16). The Shoalhaven Telegraph (NSW : 1881 – 1937), p. 3. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article121630239
  • NEWS AND NOTES (1932, February 16). The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser (NSW : 1886 – 1942), p. 1. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article126362370
  • AEROPLANE CAUGHT IN HAILSTORM (1929, November 13). Singleton Argus (NSW : 1880 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article81146037 

Citations

  1. Hunt Graham, ‘Milton Kent, Aerial and Commercial Photographer, 1888-1965’, Ashfield’s Men of Mark, Ashfield History No. 16, Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc., 2006, p. 2
  2. Hunt Graham, ‘Milton Kent, Aerial and Commercial Photographer, 1888-1965’, Ashfield’s Men of Mark, Ashfield History No. 16, Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc., 2006, p. 2
  3. A Modern Ariel with a camera, People Magazine, 15 July 1953, pp. 24-27
  4. A Modern Ariel with a camera, People [magazine], 15 July 1953, pp. 24-27
  5. Hunt Graham, ‘Milton Kent, Aerial and Commercial Photographer, 1888-1965’, Ashfield’s Men of Mark, Ashfield History No. 16, Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc., 2006, p. 5
  6. A Modern Ariel with a camera, People [magazine], 15 July 1953, pp. 24-27
  7. Hunt Graham, ‘Milton Kent, Aerial and Commercial Photographer, 1888-1965’, Ashfield’s Men of Mark, Ashfield History No. 16, Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc., 2006, p. 5
  8. A Modern Ariel with a camera, People [magazine], 15 July 1953, pp. 24-27
  9. A Modern Ariel with a camera, People [magazine], 15 July 1953, pp. 24-27
  10. A Modern Ariel with a camera, People [magazine], 15 July 1953, pp. 24-27
  11. A Modern Ariel with a camera, People [magazine], 15 July 1953, pp. 24-27
  12. A Modern Ariel with a camera, People [magazine], 15 July 1953, pp. 24-27
  13. Hunt Graham, ‘Milton Kent, Aerial and Commercial Photographer, 1888-1965’, Ashfield’s Men of Mark, Ashfield History No. 16, Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc., 2006, p. 4
  14. A Modern Ariel with a camera, People [magazine], 15 July 1953, pp. 24-27
  15. REMARKABLE AEROPLANE VIEW OF LOCALITY OF YESTERDAY’S TRAGEDY (1924, May 14). The Labor Daily (Sydney, NSW: 1924 – 1938), p. 1. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article236691836
  16. TAKES HIS CAMERA (1929, January 25). The Labor Daily (Sydney, NSW: 1924 – 1938), p. 10. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article239961289
  17. A Modern Ariel with a camera, People [magazine], 15 July 1953, pp. 24-27
  18. THE ‘FLYING CLOUD’ (1927, October 3). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW: 1883 – 1930), p. 21. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article246200148
  19. No title (1929, January 28). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW: 1883 – 1930), p. 3. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article246388701
  20. AERIAL DERBY (1927, November 13). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW: 1883 – 1930), p. 13. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article246398939
  21. FORCED LANDING (1928, August 23). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 – 1931), p. 7. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article118805137
  22. FORCED LANDING. (1928, August 23). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), p. 13. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article21320048
  23. THE END OF A SOLO FLIGHT FROM ENGLAND-AERIAL PICTURES OF CHICHESTER’S ARRIVAL AT MASCOT. (1930, January 31). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 14. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16622061
  24. AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS. (1929, February 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 18. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16527759
  25. A Modern Ariel with a camera, People [magazine], 15 July 1953, pp. 24-27
  26. Hunt Graham, ‘Milton Kent, Aerial and Commercial Photographer, 1888-1965’, Ashfield’s Men of Mark, Ashfield History No. 16, Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc., 2006, p. 10
  27. Hunt Graham, ‘Milton Kent, Aerial and Commercial Photographer, 1888-1965’, Ashfield’s Men of Mark, Ashfield History No. 16, Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc., 2006, p. 5
  28. Hunt Graham, ‘Milton Kent, Aerial and Commercial Photographer, 1888-1965’, Ashfield’s Men of Mark, Ashfield History No. 16, Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc., 2006, p.1
  29. Hunt Graham, ‘Milton Kent, Aerial and Commercial Photographer, 1888-1965’, Ashfield’s Men of Mark, Ashfield History No. 16, Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc., 2006, p.1
  30. Hunt Graham, ‘Milton Kent, Aerial and Commercial Photographer, 1888-1965’, Ashfield’s Men of Mark, Ashfield History No. 16, Ashfield and District Historical Society Inc., 2006, p. 12
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One thought on “Milton Kent (photographer)

  1. Great work on this article on this Australian photographer; thoroughly researched and referenced. Kent’s is quite early non-military aerial photography. Wonderful to see you contributing to Wikipedia!

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