A team of determined rescuers climbed repeatedly up into the attic and carried out the precious find. Around 26,000 half plate and whole plate negatives were saved. These images represented the lifetime’s work of the gifted and versatile photographer Herman John Schmidt (1872-1959). Amazingly, Schmidt’s accession registers and day books were also found and saved - these have proved to be essential for identifying the subjects of his portraits.
|Ref: 31-WP626, Schmidt family, by Herman Schmidt, c.1910s, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
|Ref: 31-58111, Mr & Mrs Jones, by Schmidt, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
Schmidt was interested in both the commercial and more artistic aspects of photography. He entered many international competitions and won numerous awards. In 1937 he received the honour of being elected a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. For many years he also contributed images to the Auckland Weekly News, the New Zealand Home Pictorial and other illustrated journals. His main income, however, came from portraiture.
|Ref: 31-WPSCH44, Auckland Ferry Building illuminated, by Schmidt, 1920-29, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
|Ref: 31-A2, Privates of the New Zealand Māori Battalion, by Schmidt, 1916, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
|Ref: 31-55951, McLeod baby, by Schmidt, 1909, Sir George Grey Special Collections|