Jack Cato

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Jack Cato (John Cyril Cato) F.R.P.S. was born in 1889 in Launceston, Tasmania. At the age of 12 years he did an apprenticeship, and studied arts in the night school. From 1909 to 1913 he was theatre photographer in London, from 1913 to 1919 expeditionary photographer in Southern Africa. His ethnic images led to a Fellowship in the Royal Photographic Society. In 1919 he returned to Tasmania were he opened a portrait studio in Hobart. He became a leading photographer of Australia and wrote his autobiography entitled "I Can Take It". He died in Melbourne in 1971.

Cato won his main merits as historian of Photography, especially for his writings about the history of photography in Australia. His popular richly illustrated book "The Story of the Camera in Australia" names hundreds of Australian photographers, early daguerreotype operators offering likenesses in beautifully embossed leather cases, early amateurs giving insight into upper class life of the 1850s, portraitists of Sydney which were better than those of London, expeditionary photographers, landscape photographers, artists of photography and photographers of different Australian regions. The book was later reprinted by The Institute of Australian Photography.

Cato had found out a lot of facts about many of these historic photographers, by studying newspaper archives, old photo albums and other sources. So his writing is exciting from the first to the last page.




  • Cato, John Cyril "I Can Take It" 1947
  • Cato, John Cyril "The Story of the Camera in Australia" 1955
  • Cato, John Cyril "The Story of the Camera in Australia" reprint 1977