Prior to his arrival in New Zealand in July 1888 Karl Gerstenkorn was a dry plate manufacturer in Sydney. He had carried out this occupation for three years in Sydney before Eden George brought him to New Zealand. The State Library of Victoria has one photograph by "C. Gerstenkorn & Co" location of studio not stated. His employment by Eden George was for a short time, his dismissal lead to a court case and he then went to the Chatham Islands in July 1889 and returned in October 1889.
Photographs of the Chathams. — By the last trip of the Kahu Messrs Attwood and Gerstenkorn brought over some capital photographs they had taken of the scenery in the islands. They illustrate well the character of the coast and inland scenery and the settlements.
(first published on 16 January until 6 February 1891)
Memento. — Mr Gerstenkorn, photographer, has prepared a card of photographs in connection with the Macquarie Island incident which created so much interest recently. It bears in grouped form representations of the lost s.s. Kakanui and the ketch Gratitude, portraits of Mr and Mrs. Mellish (who elected to remain on the island and so escaped the fate of their companions) of Mr Hatch, the captain and crew of the Gratitude on her last voyage, and of the passengers who visited the island in her. On the back is a narrative of the circumstances which make the photographs interesting. The card has been got up for sale.
At the Western District A and P Show Ploughing Match in August 1891, a dozen cabinet photos by Karl Gerstenkorn was given as a prize.
During a tour from Invercargill to Lake Te Anau in September 1891 Karl Gertenkorn photographed the sights of the tour and related his adventures in New Guinea. At Entrance Island, close to the North Fiord on Lake Te Anau a short stay is made to enable Gerstenkorn to photograph the views. Later he photographed Mount Anau, Kane, Largs, Skelmorlie and others.
He was a member of the Pioneer of Southland Lodge
(repeated until 7 May 1892)
He was a member of the Pioneer of Southland Lodge.
Later in 1892, Stone, Son and Co. claimed 1 15s 6d from Gerstenkorn for advertising in their directory, he disputed the claim on the grounds that the instructions he gave to insert his name in the advertisement had not been followed.
Bluff Harbour Board - C. Gerstenkorn submitted a sample photographic view of the Bluff and harbour, taken from the hill, and it was decided to obtain 50 copies. It was also agreed that a specimen photo, taken from the harbour, be obtained, with the view, if considered necessary, of giving a further order. — It was also resolved that lithographed plans, of the wharves, showing soundings, be prepared, to accompany the photographs, which are to be forwarded to the various shipping companies doing business with the port.
A Hint to Photographers. — An intending exhibitor writes: — "As special prizes at the forthcoming show I notice that Mr Gerstenkorn generally offers half a dozen photos of the champion draught entire, champion Ayrshire bull, and champion Leicester ram. Might I suggest to other gentlemen of the camera to follow up so considerate an example, and offer photos for the other champions of the various rings. A call from the indefatigable secretary might coax them to comply."
A Fine Picture. — We have to acknowledge receipt from the Chairman of the Harbour Board, of a panoramic view of Bluff Harbour with the town of Campbelltown in the foreground. The photograph, taken by Mr C. Gerstenkorn, is a beautiful piece of work, the perspective, although the picture is in three sections, being perfect, while the tone is remarkably equal. The picture, taken from the hillside behind the school, shows the wharf with the s.s. Indramayo and Waihora and other vessels at their berths, and the large four-masted barque Lindfield at anchor in the north channel. Tewais Point and the entrance to the harbour are included as well as the southern and eastern shores of Awarua Bay, and, as the day seems to have been a perfect one, the result is a picture for which Mr Gerstenkorn may take every credit. It has been prepared primarily to enable shipowners and underwriters in Britain to gather some idea of the extent of the harbour and the accommodation for shipping it offers, and when they see a London steamer of 4110 tons at the wharf and a ship of 2169 tons at anchor the stream they will understand that Bluff Harbour is no duck pond and that it is one to which they can send their vessels with confidence.
Yesterday the berchage at the wharf was fully taxed. Three steamers were in port, and the sailing ships assisted to complete a really fine display of shipping. Mr K. Gerstenkorn, who took a photo of the wharves, will no doubt have got a capital picture and one that will give a good idea of the port's trade.
A small fire occurred at Invercargill on Saturday night in Mr Gerstenkorn's photographic studio. The building is owned by Mr James Beattie, draper, Gore.
[Per Press Association.]
INVERCARGILL, August 6.
K. Gerstenkorn. Photographic Artist.
What is done to-day in photography was declared impossible ten years ago, and perhaps similar advance will be made in the next decade. Photography is being turned to by men of the brush, and there are some enthusiasts who declare that portrait painting will soon be wholly superseded by the camera. It is essential that the present day photographer shall be something of an artist, and this is what Mr K. Gerstenkorn, of Esk street, Invercargill, can fairly lay claim to. From boy hood he has been studying the art, gaining his first lessons therein in Germany. After removing to Australia he followed photography in various colonies, spending some ten years as a photographer in New South Wales. From that colony he came to New Zealand to establish a dry-plate business in Christchurch. Ten years ago he came to Invercargill, and bought the connection of Mr Dougall, an old resident. His success since has been commensurate with his merits as a photographic artist.
His premises in Esk street are two storey, and have a frontage of 35 feet with' a depth of 80 feet. On the ground floor is the show-room which, in common with the whole building, is being renovated and beautified far beyond what it was previously. Here are exhibited a large collection of portrait figures, scenes, and enlargements, the last of which are done particularly well. The commodious waiting-room is very nicely furnished, while the dressing, work, dark, enlarging, finishing, and printing rooms are fitted up with all the appliances required. The plant is of a superior character, and the studio is one of the best arranged in New Zealand. The skylight is of the most modern type, is of rolled plate glass, and is very expensive. The windows admit the light from the south, which affords the most suitable light in this part of the world. The improvements that are being made by the enterprising Mr Gerstenkorn will make the studio exceedingly attractive and well worth inspection by lovers of the beautiful.
Mr Gerstenkorn's portrait studies are life-like, and are cleverly and effectively posed. One and all show that he thoroughly understands his business, and has an eye for the artistic. He takes photographs in all the modern processes, and is specially successful in enlargements, which are done with or without colouring. For this purpose a special artist is employed, while capable assistants are engaged in each department. There are numbers of large scenic pictures which are evidence that Mr Gerstenkorn is as happy there as in portrait studies.
Among scenes exhibited are some taken at Stewart Island, Preservation Inlet, and of dredging vessels. Local residents need not go out of Invercargill to have good photographs taken, and as the prices charged by Mr Gerstenkorn are liberal the excellence of his work is sure to win greater rewards even than those that have yet come to hand.
Another advantage which Mr Gerstenkorn offers to his customers is in the fact that he is prepared to go to any part of the country and take views of houses, mining claims, animals, &c. Mr Gerstenkorn is a portrait, landscape, and commercial photographer, and he has every facility to meet all requirements of his clients.
At about 7 o'clock on Saturday night he passed away in his quarters at the rear of his photographic studio. The deceased, who was in his 52nd year, was born in Hanover. In his youth he took to the sea, and in the years that followed saw nearly every country in the world. He left the sea to settle in Australia, but forsook that country for New Zealand about 20 years ago, when he started photography in Christchurch with Mr Eden George. From Christchurch he went to the Chatham Islands, still following photography, and then removed to Geraldine. Some 16 or 17 years ago he came to Invercargill and took over the business of Mr Wm. Dougall, now of California, which he conducted till his last sickness incapacitated him.
Deceased was of a quiet retiring disposition and led a somewhat secluded life. He was, however, and (sic) enthusiastic Mason and passed through all the chairs. He also associated himself with the Cycling Club and occupied the position of vice-president. The funeral, which will be Masonic, will take place to-morrow afternoon.
Mr Karl Gerstenkorn died at Invercargill on Saturday night. He was born in Hanover, and after a seafaring life, settled in Christchurch as a photographer.
Some seventeen years ago he went to Invercargill and took over the business of Mr Wm. Dougall, now of Los Angelos, California, which he conducted till his death. He was a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity.
Southland News Notes
THE LATEST NEW GUINEA EXPEDITION.
To Mr. Medley, the chief officer of the A.S.N. Company's s.s. Katoomba, which arrived here at an early hour yesterday morning, we are indebted for the following particulars of Captain Strachan's expedition to New Guinea:
Mr. Medley boarded the schooner Herald at Port Douglas, and was surprised not only at the large collection of valuable timber and other staples, but also at the wonderful collection of curios and living animals obtained by the party whom, it is pleasing to know are all in good health and the best of spirits, speaking highly of their leader, Captain Strachan, who, on the other hand, is perfectly satisfied with the members of his party, which is a large one, numbering eighteen all told. During an expedition extending over four months, there has never been any dispute, all having yielded a cheerful obedience to the leader, who says he made it his business, where practical, to be guided by the sense of the party, the result being, that very friendly relations have existed throughout the trip.
From what Mr. Medley could gather the expedition on making the shores of New Guinea proceeded to the westward, entering the Maicassa, which with the Prince Leopold and other tributary streams was followed, until the navigation was stopped by snags, at a distance of over 100 miles inland. Here the real work of the expedition began. Parties were started from the river banks, and penetrated distances of thirty-five and forty miles into the interior; these small expeditions occupied three and four days, The explorers had no bearers nor means of transport, so their plan was to travel lightly equipped, the only pro- visions taken being sugar, tea, and biscuits. For sleeping gear they contented themselves with a pocket handkerchief tied round the neck and another used as a covering for the face. This absence of luggage allowed them to travel lightly and well armed. The only weight-carrier was Mr. Gerstenkorn (an old Queenslander), who had charge of the photographic arrangements. This gentleman, Captain Strachan says, tramped ten and twelve miles daily, carrying the whole of his photographic apparatus, and succeeded in obtaining over 100 magnificent views of scenes in the far interior of New Guinea, several being taken at distances of twenty-five and thirty miles from the river, and 100 miles from the coast. The country passed through was critically examined by Mr. Poett, an old Indian planter, whose verdict is that New Guinea contains some of the finest soil he has ever seen, and is capable of growing any tropical product, more especially the country towards the south bank of the Fly River. Having explored this port of the country, Captain Strachan proceeded along the coast to near the western shores of the Papuan Gulf, between which and the Maicassa are five small streams, which were entered and followed to distances varying from ten to thirty miles in the steam launch, when, leaving the river, the explorers accomplished much land travelling, the longest journey occupying three days and a distance of thirty-three miles north-west from the river bank being explored. Large samples of cedar, rosewood, pine, and other valuable timbers have been obtained; also, cotton, saffron, ginger, and other products. An exceedingly large collection of curios and native implements have been obtained, among them being a large idol, the god "Seeger," of the Gona people, which the captain obtained with much difficulty, and which it ¡s his intention to present to some of the public institutions of New South Wales. Among the livestock on the schooner there are wild boars, an alligator, two species of cusens, and half a dozen cassowaries, which may be presented to the Zoological Society. Accurate tracings of route have been kept, and altogether Mr, Medley thinks the expedition has been an extraordinary success.
Prior to leaving New, Guinea the services of two white men were engaged to superintend felling a cargo of cedar, and protect the interest of the association. The men have been armed, and provisioned for five months, and will be protected by tho chiefs of the tribes, and the mission teachers on the coast if they have to leave the camp in the interior. Prior to organising the expedition Captain Strachan received a written guarantee from the late Sir Peter Scratchley promising to recognise his priority of right to any lands taken up between the Dutch Boundary and the Papuan Gulf; also permission to fell and re- move timber, and to equip and arm his party according to his own judgment, without reference to existing regulations, and a further promise that the party should not be interfered with by any subordinate officials in the North, for all of which concessions Captain Strachan says he has largely to thank the Sydney Press, and in other matters which have greatly tended towards making the expedition a success he was much assisted by Mr. Edmund Gregory and other gentlemen in Brisbane.
The following telegraphic message has been received from Captain Strachan, the leader of one of the Age's, New Guinea exploring expeditions, who is at Port Douglas - "We are en route for Sydney. The expedition has been a thorough success. The vessel is laden with a large number of samples of cedar and pine, which is most valuable timber; also, rosewood, Booda and other timber, samples of which are new to us; also cotton, ginger, saffron, and other products. We have explored from the western boundary to the Papuan Gulf. We have met and established friendly relations with four different tribes of natives, of three different colors, namely, black, brown, and red skinned, most of whom have never held intercourse with or seen a white man before. At first they were somewhat timid, but in every case we succeeded in gaining their confidence and good-will. The party are all in good health and spirits, consequent on the success of the expedition, towards which each has done his part. Over 100 excellent photographic views have been taken by Mr Gersten (sic) of scenery in various parts of the island; also of native groups. Mr M'Auley, a practical gold prospector, declares that it is impossible for Kerry to have found gold as stated, as that portion of the country is not gold bearing. Mr Poett, an Indian planter, considers some of the New Guinea soil superior to any he has ever seen else where."
above: John Carlyle Irving
born June 1828 Dalton, Dunfries, Scotland
died 21 June 1911 Roslyn Bush, Invercargill