New Zealand Tablet, Volume X, Issue 474, 12 May 1882, Page 14
American Photo Company.One bay in the Otago court is occupied by the American Photo Company. The wall space has been nicely decorated and painted a light colour so as to show the portraits under the most favourable conditions, and the floor is carpeted — the whole bay having the appearance of a tidy little room. Mr John G. Wills is manager of the company, which has been established for about eight years in this city. He was formerly the proprietor of a large business in Collins street, Melbourne, and did a large trade there — a state of affairs very gratifying to the heart of an energetic man like Mr Wills — and since taking up his station here the same success has attended his efforts. His patrons are not confined to Dunedin alone, nor, indeed, to
the colony; and in consequence he employs a large staff to overtake the orders which are at all times on hand.
Mr Wills has eight cases in his bay, all filled with photos. The cases have been so arranged that on standing at the entrance one may take in at a glance all that the bay contains. One look is sufficient inducement to further inspect, and on doing so first impressions are confirmed, it being seen that the photos are perfect works, all possessing a singular softness and delicacy of finish, which, Mr Willis claims, is brought about by a process of his own invention. Whatever this process is that Mr Wills so zealously guards from outsiders and those in the trade, it is certain that it has something to recommend it.
One of Mr Wills' specialties is in children's photos, cabinet and imperial size. Those he has on view are executed in a masterly manner, and if those turned out from his studio are on the same lines — and we have no doubt they are — his customers must indeed be satisfied with his workmanship. There is one photo - that of a lady in a snowstorm — which Mr Wills had on view at the entrance to his studio in Princes street some time ago that still draws a large crowd of admirers for the beautiful manner in which it is finished.
In addition to these photos there are several splendid bromide enlargements hung over the cases. They are really life-like. In one of them we went to the trouble to compare it closely with the original, with the result that every line, every feature of the small portrait, was to be seen in the enlargement. Mr Wills has every reason to congratulate himself and his apparently able staff on the work which they have placed in the Dunedin Exhibition. All the photo shows in the building are viewed by large numbers, and the display of portraits made by the American Company undoubtedly receives its share of attention.
The following five cartes de visite courtesy of The Laurence Eagle Collection.
unknown woman photographed by the American Photo Co., Dunedin
[purchased November 2020]
above cabinet card courtesy of Laurence Eagle