Lynn Acutt

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Lynn Acutt (b. Durban, 28/04/1896 – d. 07/08/1964) was a photographer and filmmaker.


Born to Ernest Leslie Acutt, a prominent local businessman and a future mayor of Durban (1901/02), and his wife Madeline Churchill Gillespie, Lincesal Robert Leslie Acutt was a Natal-based photographer who also made a number of documentary films and worked on a freelance basis for the newsreel African Mirror. A member of one of Durban's oldest families, he turned what was originally a hobby into his work and established a photographic business at 343 West Street in Durban. Many of his interesting ethnographic studies survive in museum and university collections or in the form of postcards, as well as in books published at the time. During World War II, Captain Acutt became the official photographer at HMS Assegai, a naval shore base that served as a transit camp and training establishment at Wentworth. This was later extended to include all the facilities of H.M. Forces, the South African Army and the South African Railways & Harbours at the port.

Besides employing a number of cameramen to shoot the weekly issues of African Mirror, African Film Productions maintained a pool of freelance photographers on which they could draw on when filming was required in parts of the country that, in their view, did not warrant appointing a permanent cameraman. Thus Acutt was regularly called upon to fill this gap, notably in and around Durban harbour. Films he is known to have made include Dancing Up Dem Golden Stairs (1931), a silent short featuring the prophet Isaiah Shembe, a series for Dr. G.H. Gunn, the Medical Health Officer of Durban (1937) and Harbours of History (1945), shot with Cape Town-based Ken Sara for the South African Railways & Harbours Administration. In addition a video entitled The Hunters and the Hunted: Durban's Story of Whaling probably contains footage shot by Acutt. He married Mary Hamilton Methley in 1920. The couple had two children. (FO)


Gutsche, Thelma - The history and social significance of motion pictures in South Africa 1895-1940

Miller, Yvonne - Acutts in Africa

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