It seemed like a good idea at the time, but with no formal photographic training, my development as a photographer was by trial and error. Usually more of the error process. I have always been an advocate for formal photographic training, as the informal pathway is a litany of errors, mistakes and time wasting missteps. The year is 1975, Leon Kennamer from Guntersville Alabama USA is teaching subtractive lighting at Brisbane’s Park Royal Hotel; and I am a callow young photographer – full of the imagined skills that only a teflon-coated, ill-educated young man can possess. Kennamer was a gifted teacher brought to Australia by the Townsend Colortech Laboratory organisation, and amongst the products he sold was a set of vignetting devices that fitted into the compendium lens hood on my Hasselblad. It took a while to find a setting that was actually usable – remember, this was a time when the image had to be made in-camera (not in post-production).
It is often a good idea to check that the model is NOT sun-burnt!
In an attempt to ingratiate oneself with an Art Director from a world famous Advertising Agency, late one Friday evening; this lesson was learnt the hard way. The model (well actually a friend of a friend found, with difficulty, over the weekend) and the images to tantalize a room full of BF Goodrich salesmen have to be delivered before the day is finished. This is not the time to factor in a sun burn problem of nuclear proportion. Persuading the model to pose is only half of the problem – finding an un-burnt replacement model in the time frame is out of the question. Remember, this IS Brisbane in the mid-1970s, the Premier of Queensland is Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen!
Shooting on 5×4″ transparency film, doesn’t hide the fact that it is still a multifaceted filter in front of the lens; and the concept was dated BEFORE it became dated!
Jenyns, was a long well known Brisbane based corset manufacturer, and I was keen to include them in my client base. Not having any skills in this area, I decided to extend my portfolio with a series of images that would bring this famous name knocking on my Boundary Street, Spring Hill Studio door. Despite using one of the city’s premium models, my camera technique left a lot to be desired; and thus I was not destined to become a rich and famous lingerie fashion photographer.
Despite the organisational skills worthy of a Royal Command Performance – getting backgrounds into outdoor locations, cabling electronic flash in a manner not to kill anyone, producing water at a temperature that would enable more than one image to be made, finding a model with a sense of adventure – all this pales into insignificance when you encounter a wardrobe malfunction. The client rejected this image, despite it being a popular item on the “trophy wall” of the darkroom for almost a decade!