Eileen Deste [1908-1986]
Eileen Deste 1908-1986.
In February 1938 tenders were invited for the position of official photographer to the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition to be held in Wellington in 1939 and 1940. Deste’s submission included a testimonial from John A. Lee, under-secretary for housing in the Labour government, relating to her photography for a housing exhibition in the Kirkcaldie and Stains gallery in 1937. She won the contract, which gave her the sole right to photograph exhibits or any other object in the exhibition buildings or grounds. A percentage of the gross takings from the sale of the photographs was to go to the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition Company. She was to document all aspects of the exhibition, from construction to its closing on 4 May 1940. She flew above the site in a small plane to take aerial shots, an experience she later remembered as terrifying but exciting.
Deste had an agreement with Coulls Somerville Wilkie Limited to supply photographs for publications and general souvenir material, and her photographs illustrate its Pictorial souvenir of the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition, 1939–1940. She also had a stall in the General Exhibits Building, where visitors could buy photographs and postcards in black and white and colour. However, much of the photography at the exhibition was not carried out by her but by an employee, Neville d’Eresby (Des) Aickin, while she did the processing and printing at her studio. There was considerable dissatisfaction with the quality and style of the photographs she supplied, and the exhibition company agreed to allow other photographers to work on specific projects. Deste complained and requested compensation, but was unsuccessful.
The above was taken from the following site, where you can find more information. Moira M. Long. 'Deste, Eileen Olive - Biography', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/biographies/5d18/1
Four years in planning, the Centennial Exhibition opened on 8 Nov 1939, it closed 4 May 1940. During that time over 2.6 million visitors passed through the gates. For more information go to www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/nz-centennial-1940
I am a member of the New Zealand Postcard Society. Membership enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org These cards are a selection from my collection.