Joseph Lazarus first arrived in Barberton, South Africa during the gold boom from Britain and established J & M Lazarus, with his brother Marucie, in Lourenço Marques, Portuguese East Africa in 1899. Their last advertisement appears in 1907, although their box number is still listed in the 1909 edition. They sold their studio to Sidney Hocking.
Joseph appears to have settled in Bulawayo, Rhodesia. A number of philatelic covers exist bearing his name.