Business Cards – I have had a few.


Business Card #1; c1966

My very first business card was also a photography card.  The agonising that went into such a simple small text document was amazing.

I had created the strangest collection of partners to combine into a photographic business.  My good mate Alan Larsen was also an accountant – that seemed to make sense.   Another friend was a pianist and vocalist and there seemed to be symbolic relationship between those skills and wedding photography.  Something to be exploited we thought.  The connection with Alan was also based on the fact that he possessed a darkroom – and that was where the wedding photos were going to be processed.  In fact in was in that darkroom on Sunday  17 December 1967 that we heard of the disappearance of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt.  Yet another useful fact!


Business Card #2; c.1969

More important than a gold embossed dairy maid, was the fact that my next business card came equipped with a brand new Ford Falcon Station Wagon – luxury beyond anything on my radar; and my first new car.

This card (and attached job) proved that my photography career was still in a transistory state.  It did lead the way to my first food photography jobs and other assignments.

The next card was a pivotal moment in my photographic career.


Business Card #3; c.1974

I had finally made photography my primary source of income.  Not in a solo business but with a partner.  Greg had worked in an advertising photography studio and I had a bookkeeping background with candid and wedding photography skills – what a combination that was!  We were two steps ahead of being backyarders.  The colour of the card matched the corporate colours, the shade of the Mazda 1500 and the go-faster stripe painted down the wall of the foyer of our first hand built studio and darkroom.


Brisbane Card #4; February 1976

Card #4 was produced just in time for Friday 13 February 1976 – the first day of business for IAN POOLE does PHOTOGRAPHY.   It was the first day of my striking out solo.  Albeit sharing a large former Lutheran church with David McCarthy OAM Hon. LM, Hon. FAIPP, APP.L AAIPP. former Australian President of the AIPP.

By this time I had been a member of the IAP (the precursor of the AIPP) since the previous year.  It also showed the phone number that I was to use (in slightly various altered iterations) until 2014.

Colour was of importance, as was a different shape (square to make it stand out); and the double denim of the clothing was the latest in denim safari suits!  There was NO trendier photographer in all of Brisbane!


Business Card #5; c. 1980

Mind you I was to use a Hasselblad camera for most of my working career.

Business Card #5 was starting to show a little more sophistication in graphic design.  The denim remained but the typography was more restrained (and I was still a member of the Institute).

The next major move came with the transfer of the Studio to the Brisbane inner city suburb of Red Hill.  This was truly a one man business conducted from my home and enabled me to do some of those family things like taking a daughter to and from her local school. Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer Card #6 was a utilitarian object with the addition of a facsimile machine to the Studio’s assets.  Smaller space but more facility.  Upper Clifton Terrace gave me the impetus to move from being a lecturer at the College of Art, Griffith University, to being a post-graduate student at the same institution.  This opportunity opened all manner of photographic avenues to me with exhibitions being held and curated, and artist’s residencies in places like Japan (courtesy of the Australia Council for the Arts).

Business Card #7 was the result of a commercial graphic art studio and the resources of the Government of the Great State of Queensland.


Business Card #7; 1994

No mention was made of my membership of the now named Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), but I was able to flaunt my newly gained post-graduate status from Griffith University.

Joining the Queensland Government Photographic Unit gave me an opportunity to travel the state photographing all manner of projects and people.  Including an awful lot of “grip and grins” – hand shakes and ribbon cuttings!

Card #8 was an opportunity to indulge some of the finer things in photography.  Curate exhibitions at Gallery Frenzy, write articles for f11::for PHOTOGRAPHERS AND AFICIONADOS and spend a little time taking some portraits of special people.


Business Card #8; 2012

I now no longer had a formal Studio, but I did have the freedom to chose where and when photographs could be created.

Documenting a career via one’s business cards is an interesting exercise in graphics, desires, dynamics and reactions to what is happening in and around your life.

My career has been as varied as the cards would indicate!


Ghosts from Christmas Past


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


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).


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.


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.


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.


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

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


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!


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





The Pink Church in Warren Street


115 Warren Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane; © Ian Poole, c1986

A major part of my photographic career was spent working out of a former Lutheran church in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.  Shared with that Industry stalwart David McCarthy OAM, AAIPP, Hon. LM Hon FAIPP for over thirteen years, it served as my office, studio, darkrooms, home and learning/teaching facility.  It was a defacto home for the Institute of Australian Photography (IAP) the precursor to the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) as David had been both Queensland and Australian President of the organisation and I had been Queensland President, and we were both long term members of both organising Councils.

I have written before about this building (A Wander Down Memory Lane) where I described some of the output from this studio.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane -Photographer

Interior 115 Warren Street; © Ian Poole.

The building was on two levels with our offices and darkrooms on the lower level and the upper (former church) level used as studios and change room facilities.  With a peak in the roof of over 10 mt and an approximate 11×7 mt floor space we had ample room for a studio each that could be opened into one space should the assignment require it.

The Glory to God in the Highest inscription was protected by a giant flying Superman installed above it.  Our Landlord Pastor was always intrigued by this, but was far too polite to query it.

The aesthetic questions of colour temperature versus good looks from the stained glass windows was solved with black outs and sheets of polystyrene foam.


Studio Area; © Ian Poole.

The Studio was a heavily worked space with fashion, model portfolios and vast amounts of commercial product documented in this area.

Ranging from purpose built room sets for furniture catalogues to sausages for Woolworths, and laundry sinks for Everhard, the studio was an almost every day work area.  Lighting ranged from Strobe 1000 in the early days, through Bowens Quad 2000 units, to Balcar and finally my favourite – the Bron equipment.  That consisted of a Hazy-light and many heads powered by four floor packs.  The fabulous Swiss made Foba studio stand held our cameras and a Foba product table supported the Woolworth’s sausages.


Denise Moran + Sabcar Model Agency Talent; © Ian Poole, 1976.


Nobody Said the 70s Were Pretty; © Ian Poole


Everhard Tubs; © Ian Poole, c1980, Brisbane.

Many staff members supported the work environment, and included Darren Jew, Wolfgang Schoenknecht, Wayne Eeles, Cindy Limque, Rod Buchholtz, Andrew Campbell, Joy Thompson, and a string of others.


Joy Thompson in Reception; © Ian Poole, c1977, Brisbane.


Poole + Hobie + Cindy Limque; © Ian Poole.


New Mazda for McCarthy; + Darren Jew & Wolfgang Schoenknecht; © Ian Poole, c1985

And a final image from the times.  The day David McCarthy drove in with a two-door hard top Mazda and a very, very young group of staff guys came out to inspect.  The one and only Darren Jew (before he discovered fame, fortune and whales) and Wolfgang Schoenknecht.  It is amazing how small this world is as I still know and respect these guys after all this time.

A Wander down Memory Lane

Ian-Poole-Warren Street Photographic Studio; c.1979

115 Warren Street Studio; c.1979

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.

Interior of Poole Studio Office;

Interior of Poole Studio Office; c1979.

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.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer - Cassells of Brisbane

Sabcar Models (l-r Ruth Manning, Kris Ehrich and Denise Moran; © Ian Poole, c1979.

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.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer - Shop 21;

Shop 21; © Ian Poole, c1979.

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.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photogrpher- Jenny Teitzel

Get it Off with 612 4QR; © Ian Poole, c1980.

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).

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer-Denise Moran-Model

Denise Moran – Nifty Thrifty; © Ian Poole, c1980.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer, Denise Moran-Brisbane-Model.

Denise Moran – Bridies of Brisbane; © Ian Poole, c1980.

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.




Ian Poole-Brisbane-Photographer Denise-Moran, Sabcar-Model-Agency

Sabcar Hair and Beauty; © Ian Poole, c1980.








Studios in Which I have Worked


Ian Poole (l) and Greg Minns (r) at 262 Boundary Street, Spring Hill Brisbane; © Ian Poole, 1974.


Entertainment Room, Boundary Street; © Ian Poole 1975.

It is amazing looking back at photographic studios that have formed my career.  I have been privileged to work out of some interesting spaces.  Ignoring the under the house space that my first business partner’s parents generously allowed us to use (gratis) in suburban Brisbane, my first real studio was in a 1900s Gentlemen’s Terrace house in inner city Spring Hill in Brisbane.  The home of Greg Minns and Associates (later to become Greg Minns and Ian Poole, Commercial Photographers) was the basement servant’s quarters of a three storied, verandaed building with fireplaces and a gob smacking view of the centre of Brisbane.  Whilst we were vaguely aware of the nature of this wonderful building, we were more concerned with creating darkrooms and a studio and most of all an entertainment den where all those wild parties would take place with hordes of creative types and stunning models.


115 Warren Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane; © Ian Poole, 1976.


Courtyard (built by yours truly); © Ian Poole, 1980.

There came a time when one must take on the world by one’s self.  That moment came on Friday 13 February 1976 when the shingle of IAN POOLE does PHOTOGRAPHY was hung.  A disused church was suggested to me by a friendly art director and following some lengthy discussion with the well established (and more experienced) David McCarthy (son of the Father of the Modern Australian Photography Industry – Claude McCarthy).  David was suffering the difficulty of working in the centre of the city and was ready for more space and better facility.  This former Lutheran Church of 4000 square feet (371 sq mtr) over two levels, had off street car parking, room for a courtyard and matching offices, darkrooms and processing rooms, with us sharing reception and work space.  The space crunch of the 21st century was yet to come.

The courtyard was the site of many parties, a Brisbane Advertising Photographers’ Lunch and even a wedding.  It was also the work place for such Industry luminaries as Darren Jew, Wayne Eeles, Cindy Limque, Joy Thompsen, Wolfgang Schoenknecht, Andrew Campbell and Rod Buchholtz, as well as a myriad of Queensland College of Art (old Morningside Campus) students who passed through the doors from 1977 until 1988.  They still confront me at Industry events and tell me of my shortcomings!


Studio Japanese Garden, Red Hill; © Ian Poole, 1990.

Moving to premises beneath my Red Hill Brisbane home in late 1988 was brought about by an increase in rent and the growing awareness that the large Studio was financially unsustainable and probably unnecessary.  By way of dollar comparison the Church was first offered to us for the incredible sum of $78,000 (in 1976) and then re-offered to us for the out-of-the-question amount of $250,000 in 1988.  Unbelievable amounts of money (to our mind) and ones that are laughably small by contemporary standards.


Front Door, 30 Upper Clifton Terrace; © Denise Poole, 1989.

Having visited photography studios in Europe and Japan, I was aware that the indulgent space that I had become used to was not being replicated elsewhere in the world.  The move to my Red Hill home still gave me a nice office, a sizeable darkroom (including 5×7″ enlarger), a black and white processing room and a good sized workroom.  The studio was limited, but adequate.  Quality coffee could still be brewed, and a daughter could be ferried to and from a local school.


30 Upper Clifton Terrace; © Ian Poole, 1990.

Ignoring the premises I worked out during my term of employment with the Government of the great state of Queensland, my (possible) last studio and darkroom is at Foto Frenzy in suburban Coorparoo in Brisbane.  Including a purpose built darkroom at my parent’s home in Aspley, an early proto-type darkroom prior to that, then the premises described herein totals six darkrooms.  Probably enough in one lifetime.