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!


The Failed TV Campaign



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.


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.


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.


Shorncliffe; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1980.


“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!


Eyewitness News; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1980.




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.


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!)





In a Tiger Moth over the Gold Coast


Tiger Moth #1; © Ian Poole, c1978

The de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth is a rapidly disappearing aeronautical masterpiece from the pre-World War II 1930s production line.

I was fortunate, in the late 1970s, to be commissioned to photograph the last two remaining Tiger Moths flying on the Gold Coast.  They were taking tourists on brief tours up and down the surf side of the Surfers Paradise high rise towers.  The take off point was inside the old Surfers Paradise motor racing track at Carrara.


Pilot’s Thumbs Up; © Ian Poole, c1978.

The brief was to document one of the Tiger Moths from within the other craft, showing the open cockpit and the biplane construction with the struts visible.


Self-Portrait with Concentration; © Ian Poole, c1978.


Opposition Seaplanes; © Ian Poole, c1978.

Shooting with a Nikon F3 and 28mm and 20mm Nikkor lenses, I was able to get some amazing shots.  As we were traveling at relatively slow speeds (probably around 60-80 knots) the pilots were traveling in close formation.  Initially a little unnerving, but the photographer in me was impressed that I was shooting with wide angle lenses and the risk of lens shake was dramatically reduced.  Whilst aloft we managed to document a pair of the opposition company’s sea planes also flying in formation.  This was a company that I was to work for at a later time.


Gold Coast Looking South Along the Spit; © Ian Poole, c1978.

Film used was the ever reliable Kodak Ektachrome transparency.

Swimwear Fashion, 1975 Style


Cribb & Foote Catalogue #1; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1975.  Michelle Adamson_right (Dallys Model Agency)

Whilst the photographic production in advertising doesn’t change all that much, the fashion that is portrayed certainly does.  In this October 1975 assignment for former Brisbane advertising agency, Duthies Advertising, a simple black and white image was being created for the (also) former Ipswich Department store Cribb and Foote.  The iconic Cribb & Foote Ltd was purchased by the Walter Reid group.


Cribb & Foote Catalogue #II; © Ian Poole, 1975.

An analysis of the negative is also informative.  It is a negative exposed in a Hasselblad 500CM – note the double V indents on the left hand side of the full frame.  Film was Kodak Plus-X, exposed at 100 ISO and lit by Strobe 1000 and Bowens 2000 Quad packs.  The Strobe was a now long gone British design electronic flash unit.  Robust and the small brother of the much larger 5000 joule studio unit.  The Bowens was the relatively inexpensive work horse of those times; and probably a rare few are still in use today.  Also note the bag of horse feed and the Norco Fruit Yoghurt boxes in the background of the studio.  Both remnants of previous assignments.  Such was the variety of a start-up advertising/commercial studio.

Brisbane, with its sub-tropical weather, has always been a good location to hire bikini models.  These girls were all from the Brisbane office of the Sydney based Dallys Model Agency.

For more stories behind the vintage photographs see –

A Hard Day’s Work in the Park


Botanic Gardens Bicycles I; © Ian Poole, 1975. (Denise Moran and Gary Edgar)

The life of an advertising photographer can bring many different work places and complex exercises in logistics and model direction.

Such was this series of illustrations for a bicycle distributor shot in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens early in my career.  The shoot was firmly controlled by the Art Director from the Brisbane office of Pemberton Advertising – my friend Gary Edgar.  The only paid talent was the young girl hired from a model agency.


Botanic Gardens Bicycles II; © Ian Poole, 1975.

Many thanks to Denise Moran (Sabcar Model and girlfriend), Francis O’Brien (long suffering receptionist and all round good egg – Frank where are you, and please contact me……), Doug the ABC technician (equally where are you today and please contact me).  How the bikes were transported to the Gardens has been lost in the annals of time.  I can report that this was a time when four hours of riding and photographing bikes did NOT bring park rangers tumbling out of the bushes demanding permits, park fees or threatening incarceration.


Botanic Gardens Bicycles III; © Ian Poole, 1975.  (Denise Moran, Doug the ABC Technician and young Sabcar model)

As is common with all start-up photography businesses I was confronted with a client brief that wanted EVERYTHING and had a budget that would barely encourage you to get out bed in the morning!  The brief called for a range of photographs illustrating bicycle use across a range of ages – and naturally was to be pleasant to view and show fun.  There were no lyrca clad bodies called for in this series of shots.

Nothing has changed in forty years.

Working with both 6x6cm Hasselblad and an F3 Nikon outfit, and attempting to document in both black and white and colour transparency, it was a case of using almost every piece of equipment that I then owned.  The 200mm Nikon lens was longer than my 150mm Hasselblad lens and was pressed into use to achieve the Art Director’s demand for long shots across the duck pond.  Whereas the 50mm Hasselblad Distagon worked perfectly to achieve Botanic Gardens Bicycles I – look for the double notches on the left hand side of the illustration proving Hasselblad use.


A Tender Biking Moment; © Ian Poole, 1975

Fortunately the light was soft (insofar as Brisbane sub-tropical light can be) and the exposures for the transparency film (Kodak Ektachrome) were not too difficult to monitor during the afternoon.  Looking at both the black and white negatives and the transparencies I am pleased to report that the exposures were uniform and well exposed.  Obviously some careful metering done during the assignment.

I have no memory of taking a European holiday on the proceeds of this assignment, but I do recall that there are probably worse ways of spending an afternoon working.  I apologise here for the bell-bottoms, the flares, the stripes and the wild and woolly hairstyles.


Tender Biking Moment II; © Ian Poole, 1975.


Art Director Giving Posing Directions; © Ian Poole, 1975.


Deep in the Forest; © Ian Poole, 1975.   (Francis O’Brien and Gary Edgar)

Probably not a Good Idea to try These Photographs Today…..

Ian-Poole, ABC Radio

ABC 612 4QR; © Ian Poole, c1980


In the bad old days of the late 1970s and early 1980s, advertising photography and public standards were of a different nature and political correctness.  Advertising commissions that I was given, and happily photographed, are now looked at with entirely different eyes and thought processes.


Brisbane Gas Board; © Ian Poole.

Take the newspaper advertisement completed and published, for our Australian national broadcaster, the ABC.  Whilst there was no difficulty in getting our model Jenny to leap into a swimming pool and pretend to lift her t-shirt (carefully printed with the catch phrase by the ABC Advertising Department), I doubt this concept would get past Aunty’s management drawing board today.

I have no idea of what was in the heads of the creative department of the Brisbane branch of a well known international advertising agency when they conceived a shot containing seven naked small children of both genders and an almost naked male (yes male) media personality and a large bathtub!!  Mind you the precursor to the AIPP (the Institute of Australian Photographers – IAP) was happy to put the image on the front cover of their May/June 1979 issue.  I was happy that they did, the magazine included a double page spread sprouting my ability.

Talk about degree of difficulty!  Whilst seven children feature in the shot, there were another three who didn’t co-operate who were removed from the set just prior to the shoot.  Placating those mothers (by promising to pay their model fee) and wrangling the other mothers off the set, and laying out electronic flash cabling in a safe manner, AND preserving what decency one could – this was a difficult enough task.  And did I mention that the only large bathtub that I could find with enough space around it was in a dubious Bath House – which we could only use on a Sunday afternoon?

Ian-Poole-Photography-Brisbane, Cloudland Bikini

Cloudland Market; © Ian Poole  c1979.

Supplying an eye catching photograph for a suburban “pop-up” market at very short notice from the advertising agency (with little or no talent budget), called for cajoling female friends of friends seeking a favour from them – from memory in return for a crocheted string bikini.

For this remarkably low budget commission, I probably received an hour’s studio fee and the sale of a few 10×8″ black and white glossies.

The 1978 Beenleigh Rum Calendar was a big job, with a good sized budget and required on location surveys and model casting sessions.

Beenleigh Rum; © Ian Poole, 1978.

Beenleigh Rum; © Ian Poole, 1978.

What were they/we thinking?  The session was eventually shot in the studio and not on location in a sugar cane field near the distillery – much to the model’s relief.

At the time it wasn’t considered out of the question, and there was a faint possibility that the resultant glossy calendar may even garner some advertising awards.

It didn’t!

Digging through the archives has unearthed a rich vein (?) of such dubious and questionable images that I will save some of the others for a future post.


Look out for Part II.



Spike Milligan

An encounter with a celebrity – a day of photographic terror!


Spike Milligan (Australia Post Advertising Campaign); © Ian Poole.

Sometimes the exciting jobs that you are commissioned to execute, turn into periods of exquisite fear and terror. Such was the day I photographed Spike Milligan (1918-2002).  I suspect that you need to be of Anglo-Saxon heritage to appreciate the skills of that great British comedian.  Born in India of British parents, Milligan was a staple in my adolescent humour development, with the likes of The Goon Show, several books, of which Puckoon was a favourite; and he was a mentor for many of the cast of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

When Australia Post contacted me regarding an in-house campaign using Milligan as the presenter to illustrate serious staff training concepts in a comical manner – I was their man!


Some examples of the posters used throughout Australia by Australia Post.


Fragile in more ways than one; © Ian Poole.

Days of discussion with the client and his advertising agency’s art director encouraged us to book a television production house studio.  There a series of sets could be constructed to enable a rapid completion of what was now a very large job.  It meant that my assistant and I had to move my entire kit of Broncolor lighting gear and a full Hasselblad outfit to the TV studio.  The client was responsible for bringing the Great Man to Brisbane and providing him with accommodation.


The author works feverishly on set – light meter at the ready at all times. photo – Wolfgang Schoenknecht.

The accommodation requirement was of a greater concern than was immediately recognised.  It became clear that Milligan had a need of perfect quietness when sleeping – which was found some eighty kilometres away from the city!  Fortunately this was not my responsibility.  My responsibilities were of a more photographic nature.  I had to ensure that the various sets were full of the props specified by the client; that my assistant could light the sets to my satisfaction (and do so at a rate that kept ahead of me and The Great Man); and that we kept shooting to a schedule.

Because there was a video crew (not part of my team) documenting portion of my shoot, I discovered a further distracting impediment to my job.  A young camera assistant thought that because we had a famous comedian in the studio, it might be fun to practise his repartee and impress the Great Man.


The Monty Python wit on display at all times; © Ian Poole.

What he did not understand was that humour was a serious topic to Milligan, and his lame attempts were not only not sought nor appreciated.  For a while I thought my job was at risk.


Spike thought that our artwork looked better this way up! Note the Author’s youthful dark hair. photo by Wolfgang Schoenknecht.

It turned out that this was a man who had worked most of his career with not only that venerable of Institutions – the BBC – but had worked with the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and acted on stage in the West End of London.  Whilst working with me he was unfailing in his desire to perform faultlessly.  He was also unfailing in expecting me to work faultlessly for him.  It was a huge learning curve for me.

Here I was – a young photographer working with one of the greats of British comedy – and learning at every step of the way.  This was a lesson in professionalism being taught by a craftsman of the highest order.


Milligan as a not-terribly-good-post-man; © Ian Poole, Brisbane.