Glamorous and highly accomplished photographer best known for her images of Sydney socialites and brides. Such was her skill that when she retired upon marriage Cato claims 'the leading camera men of this country breathed a sigh of relief'.
photographer, was born in Bowen, North Queensland, youngest daughter of Isobel and William Agar. She trained at the Bain Photographic Studios in Toowoomba, run by James and Annie Bain, becoming their chief photographer. In 1918 she moved to Sydney and opened her own studio at Denison House, George Street, where she employed several people, including her sister Alice as a retoucher.
Agar’s stylish portrait photographs – with strong, dramatic cross lighting and theatrical, almost unnatural, poses – appeared regularly in Sydney magazines such as Home and Society in the 1920s. These photographs (of brides, society misses and 'wannabes’) are highly distinctive, each unmistakably Agar’s work although revealing very little about the sitter. Her niece recalls that Agar herself was as glamorous as any of her photographs – as is evident from her self portrait.
In April 1933 Agar 'slipped off quietly’ and married James W. Hardie, an accountant. Not for her the wispy veils and long bridal trains of the brides she had photographed:
She wore a frock of parchment satin covered with a velvet coat of the same shade with a lovely collar of sable, into which she had tucked a spray of orchids. Her small brown velvet hat matched her furs, and the 'tout ensemble’ was very charming indeed.
Agar subsequently retired from her photographic career. At this, according to Cato, 'the leading camera men of this country breathed a sigh of relief’. She died at Edgecliff, Sydney, in 1976.