Entering the second Photography Awards held by the Institute of Australian Photography (IAP) in 1977 was as nerve racking as it was entering the APPA held in Melbourne by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) last year (2015). The IAP was the precursor of the AIPP – Australia’s premier professional photography body.
My very first Silver Award came from an image taken during the following campaign shot at my Warren Street Studio (Brisbane).
Whilst this is a different frame from which the Award print was made, it is interesting to note the Hasselblad format Ektachrome transparency and the information contained therein. I was still using Lowel Tota lights prior to investing in a commercial set of Bowens flash gear. Very effective lighting but terribly hot in a Queensland Studio. But it was an easy way to get a lot of lighting for little investment.
Harlequin Music (later to become Toombul Music Centre) and later still closing its doors in 2008, was the campaign client. My client was good friend Gary Edgar, Art Director at Pemberton Advertising Agency.
Whilst some of the shots were to be used in press advertisements, the primary reason for the shooting session was to create some strong, powerful images to be used as large wall decorations. The Art Director and I were concerned that normal continuous tone photographs would not have much impact. I had been experimenting with a black and white technique called tone line drop out. This high contrast technique (or line conversion) was more commonly used in commercial printing and produced a negative/positive that had little or no grey – just black and white.
The actual shoot was fairly big deal for me, as it involved gathering a large amount of stock and props as well as hiring a specialist model. Judy Addis was a Jamaican born model who was working for a local model agency (June Dally Watkins) and had a secondary job as a jazz singer.
She was perfect for the processing technique we had in mind. From the tests that we had done in the Studio darkroom I realised the number of conversions needed was going to stretch the time of my assistant (Cindy Limque) and Wayne Eeeles (who worked in the David McCarthy Studio) was drafted to assist. The resultant shots from the session were then converted to prints via high contrast negatives for the client selection. To enable a photographically inexperienced client to pick and choose, a huge volume of material had to be produced.
Note the music cassettes and cartridges being placed into the toaster – Art Director sense of humour!
The ease in which Photoshop has done away with these arcane is amazing. Such skills were held by the most experienced of darkroom workers.
I am indebted to Wayne Eeles for not only assisting with the treatment in the first instance, but corroborating the details recently, as my memory fades – unlike the well processed black and white negatives from which these scans were made!