Heide Smith Photography Catalogue

One of Australia’s great portrait photographers has been honoured by one of Australia’s great photography and works on paper galleries – Josef Lebovic Gallery.  Heide Smith should be well known to anyone following quality Australian photography over the past 40+ years.

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Dupain and Poole; © Heide Smith, 1985

Just being featured in the catalogue (Collectors’ List No. 188, 2017) was indeed a pleasure, but to find myself side-by-side with the late, great Max Dupain was equally exciting.  I am unworthy of such a comparison!

The Lebovic catalogues are legendary in their recording of Australian works on paper and photography.  As a reference point for costings and valuations it is the “go-to” document for anyone trying to place a dollar figure on photographs.  The photos of Dupain and myself is part of a much larger body of work that was sponsored by Ilford Australia recording photographers from around Australia and subsequently as an exhibition which toured Australia-wide in the mid 1980s.

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Mal Meninga; © Heide Smith, 1991.

The variety of subjects photographed by Smith places her in the company of many great Australians.  As I have only photographed Mal Meninga from the sidelines of some State of Origin matches, it is intriguing to see him “buffed” up in a hand coloured dressing room shot.

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Robert Hawke AC GCL; © Heide Smith

And just to prove the depth of Smith’s portrait collection is one of the many images she took of Australian Prime Ministers.  A privilege that comes from living for such a long period in Canberra.

Reference to the catalogue will give details of her extensive work with the Tiwi people of Bathurst and Melville Islands and the results of being resident photographer for the Canberra Press Club from 1984 to 1996.

The catalogue also showcases some early work in Germany (her birth place) from 1956 onwards as Smith formalised her photographic training and skills.


 

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Contemporary Poole; © Gary Cranitch, Brisbane Mater Hospital, 2017.

 

Decisions

My long ‘to-do’ list of photographic chores has been a subject of great contemplation and some inner turmoil.  There are entries to be finalised for a couple of professional awards programs which I am keen to enter; several folders of work created on a month-long trip away from home still to refine; a portfolio of personal work for a submission

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Vintage Negative Collection; © Ian Poole, State Library Queensland, 2016.

and a vast archive of my life’s work of negatives that I am slowly archiving into the Queensland State Library data-base.  In spite of my well-documented history of procrastination I felt that it was time to take a more positive and proactive approach to this lethargy and work towards some quick but nonetheless worthwhile solutions.

The competition award entries were tackled first.  I am more than aware that my role in both of these events is clearly defined within the role of an assessor and as one of the judges.

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Hong Kong Monsoon; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 2016.

But in that role it is equally important that I am seen to be entering and supporting the organisations involved.  Besides which, like many creative sorts, I also have an ego that needs to be stroked and maintained!

Some years ago I was given a format that I have now adopted.  This is based on the firm premise that I am not in competition with any of the other entrants.  Instead, I endeavor to compete against my own performance from last year.  The peer assessment manner in which these awards are judged ensures that my standard is not limited by my own inadequacies.  It meant of course, that when I failed to achieve silver awards with any my entries a couple of years ago I had a period of serious soul searching to endure. I soon realised that my best for that year was just not up to scratch.  It was of a professional standard, but it was clearly not award worthy.  Whilst I am comfortable with the strong and consistent possibility that I may never stand at the podium receiving trophies and accolades, I am also conscious that I want my entries to be of a standard that enables me to confidently and comfortably feel able to construcively criticise the work of other entrants.  For the record, and as is the case for all judges, I am never in the position of judging my own work, this does not happen with well organised and scrupulously managed awards programs.

So the first edit has been made and some test prints nailed to the wall so that I can live with them for a little while.  This is a great way to assess if I am bored with my own work – a sure sign that other judges may come to that conclusion much faster than me.

Several folders of a couple of thousand files have now been sorted in a rough edit to find a collection of photographs that may be useful as award entries, or suitable for the personal project I am working on.  This is followed by a longer period agonising over those thus sorted.  Doing this over several sessions means that I have time to contemplate my choices.  I also have access to one or two trusted and highly valuable mentors with whom I can share a few of the more difficult choices.

The personal project continues with a similar approach to that of finding award images.  A steady process of post-production followed by either elimination or acceptance of photographs worthy of the presentation I wish to make in the next few months.

Then comes the sorting of my entire professional life’s output of negatives and transparencies.  This is a job that has a certain amount of tedium that comes from peering at the results of some fairly banal commercial assignments, then followed by happy trips down memory lane as I re-discover other, long forgotten but far more interesting assignments.  Of course the recurring theme of rampant sexism in some of the photographs was just a by-product of the ‘anything goes’ 1970s.

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612 ABC Radio; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1976. (courtesy of John Oxley Library historical collection)

I do now wonder why it seemed necessary to have so many girls in bikinis draped over washing machines or gas stoves.  In my defence, all I can say is that, at the time, it was entirely at the direction of various art directors at whose pleasure I served.

It is possible that your own ‘to-do’ list could be similarly reduced or tackled with a clear cut analysis of what needs to be done, and a rational approach to sorting the tasks slowly and steadily.  My list, made a couple of weeks ago, is now under control.

Though I must admit that it did take a few sleepless nights to work out precisely how to achieve all of this within a tight time frame.


Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 10.51.51 AMThis essay first appeared in f11 Magazine :: for PHOTOGRAPHERS and AFICIONADOS, p154, issue 55 :: June, 2016.

 

 

The Failed TV Campaign

 

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Channel O; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1980.

When you work closely with one or two major clients it is possible to become part and parcel of their visual sounding board and assist in producing new ideas or presentations.

Such was the attempt at winning the sales and promotion account with the Brisbane TV station Channel O.  (Now Network 10, Brisbane)

My good friend (and valuable photography client) Gary Edgar, was Art Director at the Brisbane office of the Hertz Walpole Advertising Agency.  As was the case then and now, agencies would regularly pitch ideas to clients seeking to gain their advertising budget.

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Gary Edgar; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1980.

Whilst elsewhere in Australia the Channel O network had become Channel 10 in January 1980, in Brisbane the network still traded under the Channel O banner.  A situation that continued in Brisbane until 10 September 1988.

This campaign had everything going for it.  The art director and the photographer playing major roles.  A friendly TV cameraman (he had access to a camera) and of course that staple of the 1980s – a pretty female face wearing a swim suit!   This was August 1980 after all.

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Channel O Model; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1980.

The model’s name has been sadly lost over the decades, but it is highly likely that she was the receptionist at the advertising agency.

Gary was a keen sailor and it naturally followed that both he and his 14′ Hobie Cat had to feature in a proposal that was aimed at sun, sand and water loving Brisbane audiences.

The water activity shots were photographed at Shorncliffe on the Redcliffe Peninsula during one of our regular Sunday afternoon sailing sessions.  Gary wasn’t the only one with a Hobie Cat – it was an activity that we both indulged.

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Shorncliffe; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1980.

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“O” for the Glasses; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1980.

The studio photographs were taken at the Old Pink Church in Warren Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.  The electric motorised Hasselblad (500EL – same as the one taken by NASA to the moon) in the top photograph, was a cantankerous old beast that was used mainly in the Studio.  Too big, too heavy, too unreliable to take outside!

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Eyewitness News; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1980.

 

 

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Gary Edgar (alternate); © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1980.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


These photographs form part of the Poole Collection held by the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.  #5072 – Hertz Walpole Advertising, these transparencies (and thousands of other negatives and transparencies) will be available for public access within the next twelve months.   These materials, as well as films and digital stories are available for viewing in the John Oxley Library Reading Room or online via their catalogue OneSearch.


 

Sabcar – a Brisbane Model Agency

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Cheryl and Andrena; © Ian Poole, Brisbane March 1977

An opportunity to re-connect with the Principals and members of the Brisbane based model agency Sabcar , is also an opportunity to see some old photographs.

Most of these shots were taken to produce a major poster promoting all the talent at the Agency at that time – March 1977.

Produced at my studio at the old pink church in Warren Street, Fortitude Valley, it was a major exercise in logistics.

The negatives from this (and all my other commercial photographic output) is now stored at the John Oxley Library within the State Library of Queensland.

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Cigarette; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March, 1977.

Any assistance in putting names to faces would be greatly appreciated.

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Denise Moran; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977.

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Narelle Meuller; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977.

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Gloria McQuilty and ?; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977.

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Karen Radel; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977.

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Julie-Anne Ross; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977

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Michelle Calcutt and Denise Moran; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977

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Albert Park; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977

 

On a technical note, the majority of portraits in this very large project were shot on the medium format Hasselblad camera system using a 6x6cm black and white negative.  Both Kodak and Ilford films were used.  There were some shots taken using a Nikon 35mm outfit.

Additionally the bulk of the assignments were taken in the Warren Street Studios with a handful of sessions taken at Albert Park.

 

 

Further stories featuring Sabcar Model Agency are told here:

 


 

 

No Time Like the Present?

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2016 Hair of the Dog; Photo courtesy of Queensland AIPP.

As a well known and committed procrastinator, it was only a few weeks ago that I realised that a couple of 2016 projects and goals were going to need quite a number of new, exciting and creative photographs taken.  Creativity is one of those skills that has never come easily to me – and probably never will.  So delaying making plans to fulfil the requirements of my own needs was another stuttering step embedded in my procrastination.

I was brought back to reality when a week out from a long-planned speaking engagement I realised that the details loosely floating around in my head needed to be set in audio-visual concrete and speaking notes were required to keep me within the tight time constraints nominated by conference management.

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Portfolio Review, Hair of the Dog; Photo courtesy of Q’land AIPP.

This flurry of activity then generated the realisation that other projects needed just as much urgent attention.

Coinciding with my small commitments to the photography convention was the visit of a couple of international friends who were key-note speakers on the same bill.  My hosting them during their Brisbane stay was one of those privileged benefits gained from having access to peer review from long time friends.  I have banged on often enough in this column about the value of mentors, and peer review to enhance your understanding of your own work, and so here was my opportunity.

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Mike and Jackie; Photo courtesy of Queensland AIPP.

It soon became obvious that it wasn’t the chilled Chardonnay being taken to ward off Brisbane’s humid summer that was doing the talking – but that I had some mental blocks that required re-adjustment.  A lot of the current images that were being compiled to complete these projects were taken on overseas jaunts.  Certainly an obvious way to seek out new visual interpretations, but not necessarily the only way of completing assignments.

NIMBY – not in my back yard – had become part of my raison d’être.  I had become the very person I have spent most of my teaching and mentoring career warning students against.

With some firm and pointed observations my friends noted loudly that I wasn’t spending much time documenting my beloved home town.  ‘Where are the photos of locals and familiar scenes?’ they asked.  Another good friend is working on a personal project titled 500 metres from my desk and I have been giving him strong encouragement on seeing his powerful and creative images.

I was obviously having difficulty in seeing 5 metres from my desk, much less 500!

With these thoughts pulsing through my brain I attended the opening of an exhibition that had had its genesis during Australia’s bi-centennial back in 1988.   The re-hanging of this show would give me a chance to revisit the prints that I had processed for one of the six artists being shown.  A chance to review my processing skills after almost 30 years. They were still in good condition!

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Glen O’Malley + Subject; © Ian Poole, Brisbane 2016.

More importantly I took a camera with me to the gallery.  Now there is a radical thought.  Well for me it was – I know I tell every one else to carry a camera, yet often I am not one to do so.  To my absolute surprise a couple of shots jumped out in front of me.  One or two are tolerable and may well end up residing in a presentation portfolio.

Several conclusions were reached in the past few weeks.  Good photographic friends are valuable beyond words, even if their comments are sharp and cutting and a little too close to the bone; interesting photographs are sitting, waiting for all of us very close to where we are at this very moment; and having a challenge and being challenged is the quickest way to lift the quality of one’s visual output.

I’m on to it now! Stay tuned…


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This essay first appeared in f11 Magazine :: for PHOTOGRAPHERS and AFICIONADOSp152, issue 52 :: March, 2016.

School of Hard Knocks

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Robbie and Margaret Bruce; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 24 June 1967.

It is not commonly known that I had a reasonably extensive background in wedding photography prior to moving through to the commercial and advertising genres.  With hindsight I was probably not the greatest exponent of the craft at that time.  But I do look back with a little fondness at the skills that I learnt during those development years.

The late 1960s, in yet to come of age sub-tropical Brisbane, Australia, was not a hotbed of creative energy.  Powerful flash units semi-permanently fixed to medium format cameras and driven by the equivalent of a motor cycle battery draped over one’s shoulder were the norm.  It was a time of cameras manufactured by Rollei and Mamiya and Yashica, and flash guns by Metz and Braun. We had moved past flash bulbs, although I did for a while work for a photographer who supplied me with a 2×3 Century Graphic – the roll film version of the Speed Graphic.  I was then able to get my New York press photographer fantasies out of my system.  (Wow, you must be very old… – ED)

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Catholic Leader-Birth Control; © Ian Poole, c1966.

No it wasn’t the equipment that was paramount in my early training but the people skills I observed and learnt from clients and other photographers.  Remember I was the classic back-yarder.  No formal training, no tertiary education; just a man with a Nikon F and the desire to earn some extra money.

The Nikon was the first mistake!  No photographer employer was interested in 35mm. It was far too small a film size, ignoring the convenience of a smaller camera.  After investing in the Nikon all I had money for was a second-hand Yashica 635 twin lens camera using the 6x6cm 120 format film.

But the real training came in having to interact with clients who had not booked my services.  It was a time when following a reading of the Saturday morning wedding column in the daily newspaper, I made a list of weddings and times and locations and passed them out to a small group of ‘Spec’ (speculative) photographers who would set off with rolls of film (but not many) and business cards (lots).  Our job was to garner photographs of the wedding guests, and one or two of the bridal party.  Our sales came from family groups dressed in their Sunday best, hair combed and faces cleaned attending a formal gathering, possibly for the first time in a while.  As well as taking photographs, our job was to sprinkle the wedding guests with business cards encouraging them to visit the Studio in the following week.

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Gay Walker, Miss Australia 1972 (Woman’s Day Magazine); © Ian Poole, Brisbane.

My job was to create photographs that sold.

This most basic of all marketing business premises was hammered into me.  Family groups lined up in an aesthetic, but well lit, group were only successful if all faces were towards camera and had NO blinks.  Finding a grandmother with a cute grandchild was like striking gold.  These moments had to be exploited (in the nicest most professional photographic way) and turned into ‘must have’ photographs.  Remember I only got 10% commission on SOLD photographs.

This later translated into a formulae that was useful when covering more hectic and fast moving events like the foyer of the theatre holding a Saturday afternoon ballet matinee or in the crowded foyer outside the university graduations.  The Grandmother Formula was a pure gold mine at ballet performances.  Smooth talking little old ladies became my stock in trade.  A sharp, but polite and respectful, repartee was developed.

 

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Sterling Studio Staff (author far left), University of Queensland Graduation, Brisbane City Hall; c1966. (note ties, sombre suits and respectful haircuts)

I was working with one or two older photographers who became my mentors – and such was their silver-tongued monologue delivered in the space of 3 metres and 10 seconds.

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Mrs Poole and #2 Son, Her Majesty’s Theatre; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, c1967.

Lighting was always easy – blast at f11 with flash.  But posing had to be controlled and arranged and done in moments.

Working the graduating crowds as the completion of the awards ceremony was a short timed photographic feeding frenzy that required similar, but slightly different skills.  The robed and mortar-boarded graduate had to feature prominently, but the cluster of family needed to be respected and appropriately arranged.  Groups of graduate friends could not be ignored, but family groups must come first.  This was all in a time well before such institutions stepped in and arranged a single entity to do this documentation and usually well away from the hurly burly of the public entrance.

The skills gained were many and varied.  Recognising a saleable shot from 20 metres was a requirement.  Using the right language to greet, slow down, stop and interact with a prospective subject was critical.

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Carol Stratford at the Theatre; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, c1966.

Posing, rearranging, grouping, checking for bra straps, fly-away hair etc – all of this done on the run and with great respect, was as critical as getting the correct exposure.

Any wonder I regard this 5-6 year period of my life with fondness and a gratitude to those unnamed fellow photographers who shared a few of their secrets.  What they didn’t tell me I learnt from the School of Hard Knocks and Dreadful Mistakes, I’m sure you’re familiar with it?

That period, that school, those learnings would be enduring components later to combine with an understanding of aesthetics gained through post-graduate study.  Together they prepared me for new and exciting opportunities within the photographic profession.


 

NB: all these photographs will be part of the Ian Poole Archive shortly to be accessible at the John Oxley Library within the State Library of Queensland.

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 4.14.49 pmThis essay first appeared in f11 Magazine :: for PHOTOGRAPHERS and AFICIONADOSp156, issue 51 :: February, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The Making of an Exhibition

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The O’Malleys were invited to have lunch at the Pooles; © Glen O’Malley, 14 March 1987, Red Hill, Brisbane (from the Journeys North Portfolio)

With the re-hanging of Journeys North – Revisited by the Queensland Art Gallery, I was able to reflect on the work done in getting Glen O’Malley‘s portion of that iconic Queensland Photography Exhibition on to the gallery walls.  Sponsored by the Australian Bicentennial Authority, Journeys North was a comprehensive black and white documentary exhibition with an interesting grouping of participants.  The Exhibition opens on 20 February and runs until 3 July 2016 at the Queensland Art Gallery.

Lin Martin was the only woman, and she was joined by College of Art Lecturers Charles Page and Robert Mercer, fine art photographer Max Pam, and long time camera club member Graham Burstow.  Whilst the prevailing genre was documentary, the diversity of images produced was a piercing insight into the Queensland (and by default Australian) psyche.

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Yowah Opal Fields – John Perham fossicks for opals and runs a museum ; © Glen O’Malley, 1987, (from the Journeys North Portfolio)

Probably not necessarily mainstream Queensland society, but an in-depth assessment from a photographic standpoint.

At this time I had known O’Malley for well over a decade, having assisted in helping him find a job with well known Brisbane architectural photographer Richard Stringer.

see https://poolefoto.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/richard-stringer/   My claim to fame in the Journeys North saga was that I had a fully fledged commercial black and white darkroom and almost enough trays to process a series of large exhibition prints.  O’Malley  was demanding four 60x50cm (24″x20″) – two for himself and two for the Gallery.  All archivally processed!

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Gerard and his girlfriend hung out his washing; © Glen O’Malley, 1987, Brisbane (from the Journeys North Portfolio)

The process of making archival gelatin silver photographs is both time consuming and tedious.  Making four prints from the same negative is not as easy as pressing “Command ⌘ P” four times!  For a start, large quantities of chemicals are required as these big sheets of sensitised paper absorb vast quantities of liquid and exhaust the chemicals quickly.  Then, after an agitated soak in fresh and strong fixer, that very same fixer needs to be washed from the print.  A slow process taking (wasting) a large quantity of water.  Then the density of each photograph must be consistent.  Many tests were made and debated.

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Camooweal – Mrs Steele; © Glen O’Malley, February 1987 (from the Journeys North Portfolio)

With the passing of time it can be now said that O’Malley’s great skill was his instinctive and observant eye.  Not necessarily his dedication to “correct” exposure!

I have deliberately not spoken of the other artists.  With the exception of Max Pam they are all friends and past photographic colleagues and the photographs will speak loudly and proudly on their behalf at the Queensland Art Gallery.  But I will show a couple of their pieces.

The great sadness of this Exhibition is that it has never been repeated.  Almost thirty years and no similar exploration of photography sponsored on such a major scale.

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The Big Pineapple, near Nambour; © Max Pam, 1986, from the Journeys North Portfolio

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Lynn and Jenny Cook, twins, Weipa; © Charles Page, 1987, from Journeys North Portfolio

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Young Dancers, Kuranda, Laura Dance Festival, Cape York ; © Robert Mercer, 1987, from the Journeys North Portfolio

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Eyes right, Coolangatta; Graham Burstow, 1986-87, from Journeys North Portfolio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Herbie Harold Adams, retired boxer, gold miner, Clump Point; © Lin Martin, 1986-87, from Journeys North Portfolio)

All photographs in Journeys North are gelatin silver photographs on paper.  Purchased 1987 with the financial assistance of the Australian Bicentennial Authority to commemorate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988 Collection: Queensland Art Gallery.   

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Further essays –


 

Canoes, Cats and Water Activities

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Home Made Kayak; Wivenhoe Crossing, February 1970

For a guy with skin as fair and Anglo-Saxon as mine is, it is surprising the amount of outdoor activities I pursued in my early years.  It was obviously a Boy Scout thing with a lot of hiking, mountain climbing and canoeing; then later owning a Hobie catamaran.

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Weir Above Murwillumbah

For a number of years I had been using the Canadian canoes owned by the Indooroopilly Boy Scout Group, where I was a scout master.  As opposed to the single seat kayak illustrated above, the Canadian is an open canoe requiring two people to work the craft and able to carry a third person or a lot of equipment – thus making it very useful for trips and a vehicle for camping.

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Canadian Canoe Construction; © Ian Poole, Albion, c1970

My only attempt at building a canoe was whilst I was a Scout Master at the Albion Group.  The Venturer Scouts there heard me speak of paddling on the Brisbane River with Canadian canoes and wanted to have some for themselves.  It was resolved that part of the project was for them to build their own.  I followed suit with constructing a kayak for myself.  Appropriate plans were acquired and then the search for materials.  I was using a framework of Oregon pine with upper trim of cedar.  The Oregon pine was relatively light weight, bendable and easy to work with.  The cedar trim was an affectation that was there for aesthetic reasons as well as being a soft and easy timber with which to work.  The framework was then covered with canvas that was treated with paint to provide the necessary water proofing.

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External Planking; © Ian Poole, Albion,  c1970.

The Canadian canoe was also ribbed with Oregon but then clad with marine ply strips.  Hence it was much more robust (suitable for teenage boys) and a far sturdier craft.

Whilst much paddling practice was done by launching from a point just upstream from the Indooroopilly Bridge where there was easy access into the Brisbane River, we also canoed many times on the upper reaches of the same river.  This was all prior to the construction of the Wivenhoe Dam.  There were many road crossings that enabled easy access to launch the canoes and camping spots could be easily found.  I saw my first live platypus in the wild on one of these trips.

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Downstream from Murwillimbah; photo by Geoff Knott, c1970.

A major canoe trip was a journey down the Tweed River from the first navigable water in the head waters (launching off the Uki Road) to Fingal Heads at the mouth of the river.  Done in the company of fellow St John’s Wood Rover Scout Geoff Knott, this multi day trip took us through fast moving currents, around fallen trees and low level bridges into the head winds and tidal flow of the lower reaches.  Byangum, the metropolis of Murwillumbah, Condong, Tumbulgum (a good camp site), Stotts and Dodds Islands, Chinderah and on to Fingal.

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Poole + XXXX: photo by Will Street, Clontarf, c1978

My final active connection with water was the purchase of a 14′ Hobie Cat in the mid 1970s.  A close friend (Gary Edgar) already had such a craft and it was under his tutelage that I bought and then learned (poorly) to sail the catamaran.  As I was to learn, whilst the 14′ version could be a handful, the more well known 16′ version was a killer to the inexperienced.  The smaller craft could be handled by one person but two crew were needed for the larger one.

Such were the halcyon days of photography in the late 1970s, a few photographers who owned catamarans would gather for a weekday afternoon of sailing and drinking and telling of wild and improbable stories.  These included David McCarthy (advertising photographer), Will Street (colour laboratory owner) and Graham Jurott (Queensland University medical photographer) and others.

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Poole + Hobie; photo by Jim Beitz, Noosa, c1980.

I was also to take the Hobie on a holiday to Noosa.   My Nikonos III underwater camera was used most whilst I owned the Hobie.

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Hobie 31013; © Ian Poole, Clontarf, c1980

The Hobie, with it’s iconic Tequila Sunrise sail full of wind, was a dramatic and striking sight – even if was on a final coast onto the shore.

Ghosts from Christmas Past

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Poole Yule + Cindy Limque; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, c1977

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!

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-PhotographerSharing 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.  Ian-Poole-Brisbane-PhotographerAdditionally 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. Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer

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!


 

My First APPA Silver Award c1977

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APPA Silver Award; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1977

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).

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Harlequin Music Centre #5; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1976

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.

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Harlequin Music #3; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1976

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.

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Harlequin Music #1; © Ian Poole, Brisbane c1976

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.

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Harlequin Music #2; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1977

Note the music cassettes and cartridges being placed into the toaster – Art Director sense of humour!

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Harlequin Music #4; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1977

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!

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Harlequin Music #5; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1977  (Oh to have had Photoshop to strip out the light stand waaay back in 1977!)