Ruahine in a heavy sea. Who was the photographer?

PZ-&-A3792-PhotosFollowing on from my last Blog, here is another photograph of a heavy sea as seen from the Ruahine. There are two slightly different prints of the same photograph shown here. In the top one, someone has changed the wording by painting it out, adding a new code, and then copying the altered photograph. In the process, they have removed the initials of the person I presume to be the original photographer, and also the name of the ship.

The new code, “A3792” represents the New Zealand-based photographer, David Aldersley. Some Aldersley researchers believe that David Aldersley was the photographer, but I have only been able to find him on one New Zealand Shipping Company voyage, and that was the one on which he emigrated from the UK to New Zealand.


Detail of the two prints to show how the text has been altered. If you click on the scan to view it full size, you will see that there are still traces of the original text

The lower photograph, which is the original, has the name of the ship, Ruahine, and also a copyright for “P.Z. Photo”. P.Z., I believe, was Peter Zerface, a barber who worked on board the Ruahine for many years, at least from 1916 or maybe earlier. Find out more about Peter Zerface here.

PZ-&-A3792-Photos---backsThe reverse of both the postcards is shown on the right. To add to the puzzle, the top card, on which the text has been changed, has a blank back. The bottom card which has the “P.Z.” copyright on the front, is printed onto a David Aldersley photograph paper printed back.

So why is this important? Well, it is important to me because a collector that I knew well, who died a few years ago, told me that I was obsessed with barbers because I also research Henry George Keyse (another New Zealand Shipping Company barber who signed his photographic postcards as “HGK”), and he said that the barbers would not know one end of a camera from another. He insisted that David Aldersley took all the photographs himself, including all the HGK photographs of Pitcairn Island, and yet never provided me with a scrap of evidence to prove that David Aldersley travelled more than once on a New Zealand Shipping Company vessel. That made me angry, and so I have set out to prove that I am correct, and I will be returning to this subject again on this blog.

Please leave a comment, especially if you have found a relative on the shipping lists

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