It is often illuminating to wander back through the annals of time. Following the setting up of my first solo business in 1976, I was pretty proud of the facilities that were created in the old pink former Lutheran church in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. Pink, because in the effort of getting the landlord to repaint the exterior there was a mix-up between the landlord, the painter and us as to what constituted the true shade of Tuscan Pink. None of the concerned parties had been to Tuscany – just David’s girlfriend!
Sharing space with David McCarthy, I now had access to 1,500 square feet (140 square metres) of studio, with an office larger than many contemporary studios today. A total of over 4,000 sq ft (371 sq m), plus car parking for 5-7 vehicles, plus a courtyard and a storage shed in the back. I was in photographic heaven.
A design magazine wanted to feature the trendiness of this space, and the attached photos give an illustration of the indulgence of space that was to be had in inner city Brisbane. We were yet to come to grips with central business district crowding, and the subsequent high rents caused by a shortage of space. That happened thirteen years later.
To contrast the lavish use of space in our shared reception area, and our indulgent personal office space, it is also instructive to note the style, calibre and content of the illustrations that were coming out of the large studio on the first floor.
Straight black and white retail illustrations for news print were the bread and butter of the studio at this time. White backgrounds and clear, clean lighting, with a rapid turnaround in the darkroom was the order of the day.
Thanks goodness for small specialist women’s outlets like Cassell’s and Shop 21. Brisbane designer and art director, Malcolm Enright, makes mention of Cassell’s in his article in the Fashion Archives. And Brisbane model of the era, Liz Golding, mentions Sabcar Model Agency in her interview in Fashion Archives.
The illustrious ABC was a constant client, although their taste in advertising may have changed a little in the intervening years, as is evidenced in this early 1980s Brisbane Courier Mail advertisement.
Jenny Teitzel was the good sport model from Sabcar Agency to “Get it off” for me (and ABC radio).
Nifty Thrifty/Cut Price supermarkets, and the bridal boutique Bridies of Brisbane also supplied assignments along a similar pattern. In studio, black and white, retail illustrations, shot on a white background; with a quick turnaround from the darkroom. Thank you Denise Moran from Sabcar Model Agency.