All our own work

An earnest debate amongst Australian professional photographers is currently ensuing online regarding the legitimacy of using second and third party professionals to prepare entries for photography awards.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer

Story Bridge + Bird; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1995.

In this instance specifically, whether professional retouchers should be able to work on an awards entry and whether the resulting modified photograph still remains within the original photographer’s integrity of ownership.

The debate resonates on many levels.

Firstly, the Australian professional institute has encouraged its members to enter the awards with a view to improving professional standards across the broad range of the industry.  Comparing current entries with those of 30+ years ago, this has been achieved well beyond the imagination of the two or three Australian photography industry founding fathers’ fondest thoughts, wishes or hopes.

Secondly, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of first time professional photographers practising their craft without any degree of formal training.

And thirdly, many of these new industry members are trying their hand at entering professional awards for the first time using photographic images that were commercially sound enough for sale to clients – but then fail to attract high assessments from the panel of judges.  The antipodean professional awards of New Zealand and Australia present some of the highest standards in photography, as evidenced by the success of some of their participants on a world stage, so where does the disconnect occur, and why?

That third point is the basis on which many photographers are now questioning their own poor results and looking for answers in places other than deep introspection. Some are rooting suspicion from their discovery that some entered photographs have received post-production treatment that might not all have been the work of the entrant.  A lack of formal training in photography means that some fundamental knowledge of the history of the art is absent, missing in action, from their perspective.  This colours their judgment, hiding the real issue.

Right from the earliest days of photography there was a dependence on skilled third party assistance for the photographer to be able to produce saleable portrait images.  From the late 19th century through the early 20th century the production methods were similar, albeit the materials used varied.  The photographer (usually a male) exposed sensitised material and worked with the clients in The Gallery and behind the scenes vast numbers of staff (mostly female) worked on the production of the finished product.  Some photos of these areas in very large studios indicate an almost Dickensian workhouse nature. In a very real sense however, both sides of the production process were equally harrowing as work places.

The widespread use of colour materials in the mid-twentieth century brought about a dramatic change to the business model.  A host of colour processing laboratories created a revolution where photographers concentrated on finding clients and taking photographs while relying on their finished print production being entirely done by laboratories.  The resulting images were really only packaged back at the studio for delivery to clients.

This reliance on laboratories by domestic photographers was echoed in the commercial world.  The difference being, that instead of processing negatives these laboratories worked with transparency film and offered additional skills for sale.  Compositing two or more transparencies into one, adding text to a transparency, blending several images to create one finished result – something that any half trained photography student could do today in minutes with Photoshop – had to be sent to an expert or experts (often in another city) for completion.

My personal experience of having seen most of the Australian professional awards judged was that this manner of production was always perfectly acceptable.  Whilst the viewer often marvelled at the technical skill required to achieve some of the effects, nevertheless it was the brilliance of the concept, or the execution of the original exposure, that was being assessed and attributed to the entrant.  Today, the common practice of having one’s award entries printed and finished by a master printer is not only accepted, but tacitly encouraged. Judges don’t expect entrants to be master printers, so why should they expect the same photographers to be master retouchers?

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer

Tokyo Opera House; © Ian Poole, 2012.

The disappointment some new entrants to the awards system face is the discovery that their ‘successful’ commercial output does not rate highly in a peer review competitive situation.  Money from clients (albeit the most important yardstick for a commercial enterprise) while essential, is also on a par with lavish praise from one’s own mother.  The success of the trans-Tasman competitions is that the quality bar has been raised to a very high level.  Something to be applauded, not dragged down to a lesser level by adding the criterion that if the image was adequate enough to sell, it is therefore good enough to be applauded and awarded by a jury of our peers.

Content, intent, story-telling, description, emotion, memory, originality, technique and many other signifiers are the harbingers of an award winning photograph.  Judges tend to wait and hope, looking for photographs that bring a special message and trusting that they will be able to recognise these images when revealed in the dance of assessment in those quiet rooms.

Long may that expectation reign.


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This essay first appeared in f11 Magazine :: for PHOTOGRAPHERS and AFICIONADOS, p148, issue 57 :: August, 2016.

Business Cards – I have had a few.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer

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!

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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.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!


 

August 2016 was a great month

For different but related reasons August 2016 was a great month for me.

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In Good Company

Firstly I had a comprehensive portfolio of my photographs published in the online magazine f11::for PHOTOGRAPHERS AND AFICIONADOS.

Secondly I gained my Master of Photography (M.Photog) status with the (AIPP)

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer

In Equally Good Company.

The first achievement was the result of over nine months of submission and collaboration with the f11 Publisher and Creative Director, Tim Steele.

With some gentle (and often times not so subtle) prodding, Tim was able to move me away from a grab-bag of retrospective images culled from a lifetime of photography into displaying a targeted and curated array of complimentary shots.  For this I will be eternally grateful.  Whilst I have a fair record in curating photographic shows for other people this was proof positive that the artist should rely on the input of a dispassionate party in such an exercise.

As a long time exponent of the black and white process and genre, it was an eyeopener to me that not a single monochrome image was included.

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Istanbul Dolls; © Ian Poole, 2015

The wonder of colour was never more evident than in this portfolio.

Issue 57 commencing at page 98 gave a comprehensive survey of my more contemporary photographs.  The supporting essay alluded to a voyeuristic photographic eye – a statement that I don’t shy away from, albeit not in the wide angle, camera in the face documentary style that is employed by some practitioners of so-called street photography.  I am no Vivian Maier!

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Observations; © Ian Poole, 2015.

What this project did do for me was to isolate a not strongly held view that I was attracted to people and place.  Having been fortunate to travel a few times over the past few years it was obvious that I would document those moments.  But it was the urban landscape (with its attendant population) that attracted my lens more than “the landscape”.  It took an analysis of various submissions for Tim to make this point so strongly – a fact with which I am pleased.

The second part of the bookending of the month of August was my gaining my M.Photog.  The road to this achievement has been paved with many challenges (I Earned a 73 ……. and a few other scores) and (Failure) and (The 2015 APPAs).  In this 40th year of the APPAs (Australian Professional Photography Award), it was a nice co-incidence for me.

I had attended the “test run” of the APPAs 41 years ago at the HYPO Convention at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, and entered the second APPA and earned a Silver Merit.  Having decided early in my membership of the AIPP that I was a better Judge than an Entrant I chose for a long period to restrict my involvement to the judging table – UNTIL!   Some six years ago a few of my Institute “Friends” took me aside at an Awards Dinner and monstered me.  “Put Up or Shut Up” was the demand.  Thank you Mike Langford APP.L GM.Photog FAIPP,  Jackie Ranken, Peter Eastway APP.L GM.Photog FAIPP FNZIPP Hon. FAIPP Hon. FNZIPP, Ian van der Wolde APP.L M.Photog III Hon. FAIPP, Andrew Campbell APP.L GM.Photog and David Oliver AAP.L GM.Photog.  So, with the exception of the disastrous 2014 Year of the Bronzes, I steadily worked my way through gaining my Associateship and then Masters.

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Birmingham Gallery Cafe; © Ian Poole, 2016.

This year’s Award images also contributed to my gaining a Master of Photography within the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography Iris Award system.

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Tallin, Estonia; © Ian Poole, 2016.

Huge thanks need to go to Living Image Print and Andrew Merefield (and Darren Jew who was away swimming with whales) for the care and professionalism given to putting these pixels onto paper.  A skilled job for a pair of skilled professionals.

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Opposite The Ritz; © Ian Poole, 2016.

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Edinburgh; © Ian Poole, 2016.

……and a final comment must be made to my talented mentor Adam Finch M.Photog.  Adam has continually challenged, critiqued and encouraged my photographic output.  No good photographer can exist without a mentor (or an Editor).  Thanks.


 

 

 

 

Previsualisation

A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera…’ – Dorothea Lange

How could an early twentieth-century photographer be so aware and conscious of the power of photography without possessing any of the knowledge we now have at our fingertips, in our case thanks largely to the information age of the internet?

Lange was from that famous school of American documentary photographers during the early twentieth century which included, amongst many others, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, James Nachtwey, W. Eugene Smith, Nan Goldin and Mary Ellen Mark.

Seeing without a camera is also described as pre-visualisation. Ansel Adams was a great proponent of getting the image clear in his head before exposing a sheet of film.  There might have been monetary constraints behind such a process, but I like to think it was then, and still is now, all about searching and finding the photograph before letting the camera perform its very mechanical and technical thing, the job of making an exposure.

At this time of the year when the photography calendar has started with the WPPI convention in Las Vegas now completed, the various Australian state professional awards commenced, nominations for entries into the New Zealand professional awards having been called, and mumblings already starting about the Australian awards later in the year; discussion is rife about creativity, and the creation of great photographs.

Whilst some photographers maintain that a good photograph can be created via careful post-production of an image (either digitally or in the darkroom) I am strongly of the opinion that great images have their genesis in a process involving careful thought.  That superb reaction shot taken by a wedding or documentary photographer is more than just the tangible evidence of good reflexes, it is the sum total of years of experience, of getting into the right position, of thinking about new angles or approaches and having the presence of mind to be ready for the unexpected.  Luck plays very little part in it.

Migrant Mother

Migrant Mother; © Dorothea Lange, 1936

The power of Lange’s photographs is as strong and compelling today as they were when she worked for the US Farm Security Administration and created the iconic photograph, Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (1936).  This image has little to do with technique and a lot to do with the gentle but determined desire of the photographer to observe and then capture a scene that she felt needed to be seen by a wider audience.

The focal length of her lens, her choice of film type, or the length of time it spent in the developer are rendered irrelevant by the choice of angle, the humanity contained in the eyes of the subject, a poverty-stricken mother, and the fact that her children, huddled in their tent do not make face contact with the camera.  Their eyes are unseen.  The power of the back story to this photo is compelling but it is the photo that takes you to that place in an unwavering way.

Whilst I now own up to looking for more books about photographs than I do for books of photographs, it was through my early career period spent studying photographs that I started preparing my eyes for seeing without a camera.  This was a difficult period because I was hooked on the mechanical process of creating photographs.

A period of time we all must pass through in order to reach the other side, I hasten to add!

But it slowly dawned on me (cheerfully admitting to being one of the world’s tardiest learners) that the content, the construction, and the creation of the photograph was more important than the delivery of the image.

This applies equally to the commercial image sold for money, and the fine art print created for aesthetic and stylish reasons.

The brain behind the eye behind the viewfinder is more powerful than any of the metrics we use to measure the calibre, quality or resolving power of the lens.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer

Outside Portrait Gallery; © Ian Poole, London, 2016.


Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 6.10.45 pmThis essay first appeared in f11 Magazine :: for PHOTOGRAPHERS and AFICIONADOSp156, issue 53 :: April, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 


 

The 2015 APPAs

With the sad story of the 2014 Canon AIPP Professional Photography Awards now behind me – well almost!!!  That was the year that the Judges turned their backs on my entries and threw them all into a shredder; but I did front up again for the 2015 event.  For a moment it looked like a repeat of last year with an outrageous non-award “bronze” for the sweet and cute Kewpie Dolls.

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Istanbul Kewpie Dolls; © Ian Poole, Istanbul, 2015 (no award Landscape Category)

Storm Over Constantinople was one of those magic moments that you see shaping up in front of you and you make snap decisions on the fly; and then run like crazy to get out of the rain and the hail.  No raincoats of course!

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Storm Over Constantinople; © Ian Poole, Istanbul, 2015 (Silver Award – Landscape Category)

Le Marais Self-Portrait was the result of sadly looking through the doorway of the Parisian apartment that we were departing after a few glorious days in the city of light.  The passageway that I wanted to photograph could only be seen by using my reflection to mask it – this is how easy it is to find masterstrokes.

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Le Marais Self-Portrait; © Ian Poole, Paris, 2015 (Silver Award – Illustrative Category)

Barbès-Rochechouart was the result of looking for a shot like this at several Parisian stations.  I started to see the theatre of the occasion forming in front of me and so I stayed and shot and shot and shot.  Not being able to art-direct was frustrating, but eventually this tableaux dropped into place.  Speaking French and using a megaphone may have lessened my blood pressure, but patience is essential.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer

Barbès-Rochechouart; © Ian Poole, Paris, 2015 (Silver + Distinction – Illustrative Category)

Whilst I did judge in the Illustrative Category it must be declared that I did NOT judge my own work.  The rules are stringent in that regard.   But the judging process that I have enjoyed for so long is just that little bit better by having a few of your own images being considered by my judging peers.  Frustrating sometimes, but still a nice feeling.

And of course John Ansell must be congratulated for his stunning set of tintypes that won him the title of 2015 Canon AIPP Professional Photographer of the Year.


Stories with a similar vein –

Ballarat International Foto Biennale Print Collection

Paul-Griggs-Melbourne-Photographer

Port Fairy Music Festival 2015; © Paul Griggs.

I have written previously about the pleasure I take in supporting an organisation as important as the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and the concept of print swaps where one’s personal collection can be extended, including more formal print swaps like this.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer

Arts et Metiers, Paris; © Ian Poole, 2015.

In the recent Red Dot Ballarat Collection I was lucky enough to receive the Paul Griggs‘ photograph shown above.  The nature of the Ballarat fundraising event is that the photographs are sought as a donation from photographers and exhibited anonymously on the walls of Eleven40 Gallery in Melbourne.  A BIG shout out to Eleven40 for their ongoing support over a number of years.  See their web site for a full set of illustrations and authors’ names.

Because I am an interstate supporter and unable to attend, I had sent my list of preferred (anonymous) photographs to Jeff Moorfoot, Creative Director of the Management Team.  I recognised a couple of the images, thought I recognised a couple of others (mostly incorrectly) and lusted after a couple of other shots.     …..and then waited to be told what my Red Dot investment had achieved.

Robert-Imhoff-Photographer

Sydney Charles Bromley 1969; © Robert Imhoff.

Firstly, it was lovely to be advised that my contribution, Arts et Metiers, Paris, had been red dotted by that doyen of Australian photography, Judy Foreman.  I hope she enjoys the photograph as much as I did taking it on a recent trip to Paris.  Secondly I gained the Port Fairy Music Festival 2015, which was on my list, but not known as a Paul Griggs’ photograph.  I have been a long time admirer of Paul’s work in the wedding arena where he was one of the first practitioners of reportage using black and white, documentary coverage with a Leica camera.  I can recall judging some of his early work in the AIPP’s Award system with great clarity today.  This is a contemporary example of that skill and will hang with pride in my personal gallery.

Tim-Griffith

Burj Khalfa 2010; © Tim Griffith

Then come the photographs that I DIDN’T get.  I recognised the Imhoff photograph from the cover of Imhoff: a life of grain & pixels lying on my sideboard.  I should have recognised the Tim Griffith’ Burj Khalifa 2010 as being a great example of his architectural oeuvre – but I didn’t!  The Poole Collection is still missing one of his masterpieces.

Jackie-Ranken-NZ-Photographer

Fiordland Diva; © Jackie Ranken

I am very familiar with the work of Jackie Ranken, but she fooled me this time – I missed this one.  I didn’t miss her partner, Mike Langford’s offering, as I had attempted to photograph the same tree with a much, much lessor result.  Maybe I should go back in winter?

Mike-Langford-Photographer

Mataouri Tree; © Mike Langford

Stephen-Dupont

Goroka; © Stephen Dupont

I should have recognised Stephen Dupont’s homage to Irving Penn with his Goroka, and if I had I would have put him closer to the top of my red dot list.

I was taken by the construction of Jack Picone’s Dhows 1 long before I was aware of his name connected with the photograph.  A Master of the documentary craft, it would also have hung with great pride in the Poole Collection.

Jack-Picone

Dhows 1; Jack Picone

I did recognise and enjoy my Queensland mate, Gary Cranitch’s Cane, but Roger Garwood’s Fred And Me…Spectators, Coolgardie, 1975 caught me totally by surprise.  Maybe it was because it was an early work a long ways from what I have come to expect from Roger.  I did bid for it, by the way, as I enjoyed the whimsy of the image.

Works by Doc Ross, from earthquake stricken Christchurch (In The Earthquake Gardens) and Charles McKean (The Family Drawers) were noted as possible contenders for the collection.

Oh the wild dreams of building a fantasy photographic collection from the digital world wide web.

Doc-Ross

In The Earthquake Gardens; © Doc Ross, Christchurch

Charles-McKean

The Family Drawers; © Charles McKean

The Pink Church in Warren Street

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Nobody Said the 70s Were Pretty; © Ian Poole

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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.

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

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Poole + Hobie + Cindy Limque; © Ian Poole.

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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.

Failure

IMG_1456-2The plane trip home to Brisbane from Sydney takes about 75 minutes and during that entire time I pondered the complete failure of my entries in the recent Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA).

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Kawarau Trees; © Ian Poole, 2014

Four photographs entered and not one getting a silver award!  Disappointing to say the least; chastening certainly since I had judged other photographers work constantly over three days.  In my humble opinion one of the entries was the best shot I had taken in a decade.

But hang on a moment – my placing of entries into the very system that I had just actively participated in was not a failure, but a vindication of the system that I have promoted and supported for over thirty years.

This led me to take a closer look at the concept of success and failure.

As photographers we have many methods of judging success.  Maintaining a viable business that keeps customers coming back, pays the mortgage on life’s necessities, supports a partner and family – surely they are measures of success?  For the amateur photographer it may be a case of participating in an active camera club, entering competitions or improving one’s technique.

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Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; © Ian Poole, 2014.

With the average person having an intelligence quotient (IQ) of over 100, you don’t need a membership of Mensa to realise that there are many pathways to measuring success.  For some it is physical possessions – sports car, medium format digital camera, fast processing computer.  For others it is winning competitions.  Good grief it could even be garnering Facebook ‘likes’!  But there is a success in returning effort into an organisation or club that has given you support over a period of time.  Even giving effort back to an industry that has supported you well over a lifetime.

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Rear View; © Ian Poole, 2014.

As a teacher it is a joy to be confronted by a former student who is now a practicing and successful photographer.  One of my current business partners is a former photography student who is now recognised world wide for his photographic prowess.  He certainly didn’t learn his water-based skills from me, but he did get imbued with genuine excitement for photography whilst working in my environment.  I will claim success credit for some of that.

I have now reached a point in both my life and my career where I well know my own limits.  Being ‘photographer of the year’ will never feature on my curriculum vitae, but having my photography judged by a panel of my peers is a valid method of assessment of personal visual output.  Nevertheless I will continue to teach, mentor, assess, write and think about photography.

And yes, I will put my four best images in front of the 2015 judges.

Count on it.

Ian-Poole-Photographer-Brisbane

Soho Moment; © Ian Poole, 2014.

 

37This essay appeared in issue 37, f11 :: for photographers and aficionadosimage001

 

Photography Institutes – some things never change

The Institute of Australian Photography (IAP) was the earlier name for the august body that is now called Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP).  Founded in 1963 with Claude McCarthy OAM Hon. FAIPP as the inaugural President, the IAP was the first serious attempt to create an Australian national photographic body that would represent professional photographers both to clients, to government and to industry.  A recurring theme was the desire to mount an advertising campaign that would address some of those concerns.

Claude McCarthy’s son, David McCarthy OAM AAIPP Honorary Life Member, Hon. FAIPP, was IAP President in 1976/77.  As an advertising and commercial photographer based in Brisbane, David felt that he should use his skills and contacts in the advertising world to mount such a campaign.

IAP_03_blog_PooleMany attempts had been made to devise a plan that might advertise and promote a discussion about professionalism.  Attempts had been made previously on a local and a State level but lack of funds always created the biggest hurdle.  By utilising connections within the advertising agency world in Brisbane, David was able to convince a prominent art director to create a series of advertisements that were of a professional nature.

IAP_01_blog_PooleDavid was responsible for most of the photography.

IAP_04_blog_PooleAs I shared studio premises with David McCarthy, and was an Australian Councillor (precursor to today’s Board) and a former Queensland President, it followed that I was aware of, and assisted with some of the campaign.

IAP_02_blog_PooleThe campaign was created sometime in the mid 1980s.  Exact date is unknown.

IAP_05_blog_PooleIt would lovely to report that the promotion was a smashing success and boosted earnings of photographers across the country.  Sadly that was not the case.  I have a feeling that one or two of the layouts were run in country/regional Queensland, but newspaper placement costs made the whole effort unusable.

 

These historical documents represent a minute portion of an archive of negatives, transparencies, photographic prints and memorabilia that has been gifted to the John Oxley Historical Library, State Library of Queensland.

 

 

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.

Ian-Poole,

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.