Milton Kent

Milton Kent was born in Melbourne in 1888 and from the age of ten was apprenticed to his photographer father, Charles Kent.

In 1909 Kent established his own commercial photography business, finding early work photographing professional boxers and the motor industry.

Kent’s other love was flying and he soon learned to combine this with photography, going on to become a pioneer of aerial photography in Australia. In 1920, he imported a half-plate oblique aero camera from Carl Zeiss AG in Germany for aerial photography of factory projects and real estate subdivisions and by 1921 his aerial photographs of Sydney appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald.

In 1927 he purchased his own single-wing aircraft, feeling that the single-wing gave a clearer view for his photographic work. He then went on to work steadily for the Sydney Morning Herald.

By the 1940s, Kent was the principal aerial photographer in Sydney and his work was used in thousands of advertisements in newspapers and magazines.

In 1953 he went into business with his son Lionel and renamed the business Milton Kent and Sons, operating out of a home studio in Haberfield, Sydney. Kent retired in 1961 and died soon after in 1965.

Among Kent’s many commercial clients was Lever Brothers Pty Ltd. The Noel Butlin Archives holds a number of Kent’s aerial photographs of their factory in Balmain as well as other commercial work by Kent for clients such as Tooth & Company Ltd and the Adelaide Steamship Company.