There was a time when I spent a lot of time creating Christmas cards and photographic invitations for parties.
The above shot was created very early in my career at 115 Warren Street, Fortitude Valley and I was very proud of the old pink church that I shared with David McCarthy. It took every piece of lighting that I possessed to illuminate the interior of the church, and using Kodak Ektachrome type B (Tungsten) film to record the lighting correctly but enhance the blue of the twilight, I felt that I was working at the extremes of creative photography. Image my horror to discover either that year or the next, that a Melbourne photographer had used a similar technique and shot for their card!
Sharing a studio space as I did meant that David and I were able to co-host a Christmas party each year and share the costs etc between us. The need to create an interesting invitation that would attract the attention of our respective clients was paramount. Various advertising agency creative directors were kind in offering us their writing and art direction skills, but Kevin Fielding and Gary Edgar were two who gave generously of their time and skills. Additionally there was a big input from our respective staff, not only assisting in the production and shooting of the image to be used, but the complex production of the text and subsequent printing of the photographs. The invitations were always sent out as 10×8″ black and white prints to reinforce the fact that we were creative advertising photographers.
The complexities of sharing the hosting of such a party was illustrated in many ways. There was a time when Brisbane was a two brewery town – Castlemaine Perkins Fourex and Carlton United. The two respective advertising agencies were our clients albeit not necessarily for photographing beer. As was the custom of the time, our parties were held in a large courtyard under a large poinciana tree, with a BBQ in one corner and several plastic rubbish bins filled with ice and cans of beer. Knowing that the majority of our guests drank XXXX beer and not wishing to offend the Agency representing VB beer, we spent the night surreptitiously scattering VB cans into the bins so as to appear as if the beers were disappearing equally.
This was the late 1970s and early 1980s – the Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen years in Queensland. Whilst the gerrymander (I have referenced the ABC’s Antony Green for a succinct explanation) gave the ruling Country/National political party a stranglehold on Queensland politics, elections were nevertheless strongly fought. So it came to pass that our Christmas Party was held the night before a Queensland election and we had the amazing scene of three sitting members of Parliament fighting each other to work the tongs at the BBQ, thereby being in a position to offer an opinion with every hamburger cooked. After some consternation at this, David and I eventually chose to avoid the BBQ that night and concentrated on having a drink with clients hoping that the festivities did not turn ugly.
I seem to recall that the gerrymander won again the next day!