The concept of a child following in the footsteps of a parent has been around forever.

In my case I was quite clear in my mind that my daughter Nicola would NOT be trained as a photographer. To impose the rigour of photography on her was not in the dreams I had for my child. Photography had given me so much – but it had come at a cost of hard work, long hours, poor financial rewards and on occasions a sense of uncertainty about the future. Nicola had had access to any amount of cameras, and had film processed indulgently from an early age – I thought that I had been the model Photographic Dad.

Little had I reckoned with my beloved Daughter


Unbeknownst to me, she had found an unused darkroom at her high school and had pestered teachers to resurrect it and bring photography back into the curriculum. Her single sex Catholic school had a history of supporting students in their endeavours, and encouraged non-academic girls in topics that were relevant to them. Winning a whole-of-school major art prize, that had previously only been won by the painting/art students, brought serious recognition from caring teachers.

Where is this going to, you ask?

Recently I had need of a new portrait that could illustrate my creative side, show my rugged mature good looks, and would work in a flattering black and white manner. NICOLA POOLE does PHOTOGRAPHY has a history of great portraits of brides and small kiddies – also she is family, so she will be cheap and pliable. Wrong!

Nicola chose a suitable location that was so secret that it required my being blindfolded and subsequently sworn to secrecy. A dusty, deserted, run down car park was apparently considered the perfect location for an aged parental unit!

Working for several decades behind the camera does not instil great skills in posing and taking direction – especially from a Daughter. I know the problems with lighting, confused backgrounds, incorrect f-stops carelessly chosen, high ISO (= objectionable noise), and “are you getting my slightly indelicate generous girth and the less than bronzed Anzac tan into the shot?”. Therefore with this great knowledge and experience it follows that I would share these concerns with The Daughter. Oh no! I was quickly put in my place and then, of all things, given a lecture about the technical attributes of a Nikon 85mm f1.4 lens. It has great Bokeh Dad; as if the concept had been invented in the past twelve months. Little did she know that I had owned (in a previous life) the great Minolta Rokkor 58mm f1.8. Sadly the manufacturer has long gone to the great darkroom in the sky and these lenses are not spoken of – even in the great seat of learning, Southern Queensland Institute of Technology, supervised by the equally great Dr Doug Spowart.

The Father/Daughter photography bonding session did end pleasantly (albeit with a few moments), and some great images were created. Even a couple by yours truly.


3 thoughts on “DNA

  1. Oh, what a portrait Nicola has made of you Ian!

    I reckon the formal act of portraiture interrogates both the sitter and the artist. Both parties are responsible conspirators in the creative deed that yields the portrait and both are answerable for its implications. The amateur psychologist can find much to muse on here.

    First the power relationship is established. Nicola asserts dominance via the blindfold, the secret location, the dungeon, and the fire-power of a camera with a grand lens on it. Ian, the sitter, is defensive; arms crossed in front, gaze directed downward, spectacles skew, and no trace of ease or comfort let alone a smile. And look at the single lamp overhead. This is classic “third degree” lighting. Whatever confessions were wrung from this encounter they are probably necessary and true.

    Portraiture this good transcends the mere recording of facial topography.


  2. What a fabulous session for you both and some great results. Regardless of intentions she has taken the skills and the passion and forged her future in something she has the love and a great talent for. There can be no greater reward as a parent and no greater revenge as a child. Awesome work Poole family.


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