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!


Creativity Has Never Been Easy

Having obtained a treasured Artist Residency from the prestigious Australia Council for the Arts, I knew that fame beyond my wildest dreams would follow!

Sadly it is not that easy.

My application had sought a residency in Tokyo, and such was the nature of the announcements in those days, I had over eighteen months to dream about the prospect before I took up my three month term in Takada-no-baba on the Yamanote line in deepest Tokyo.   Takada-no-baba, the home of the mythical Astro Boy, whose tune is played each and every day to announce the departure of the Yamanote Line commuter train.

Ian-Poole, Shoji_Composite

Shōji Screen, Takada-no-baba; © Ian Poole, 1996.

So, arriving in May of 1996, I was carrying the full weight of a post-graduate degree earned in mid-life, a desire to make art above and beyond anything I had ever done before, and to explore a Japan that I had a small knowledge of and a large number of Japanese photographer friends from whom to seek advice.  A serious load to carry.  Apart from a small stipend to cover a bowl or two of rice per day, the jewel in the crown was the 2LDK that was mine.  This translated into two tatami floored rooms (multi use – sleeping/relaxing/working/creating), a dining room and kitchen (basically the same room) plus a toilet and what turned out to be a fairly luxurious bathroom.  Although the bathroom was of the totally wet Japanese style – requiring dry clothes to stay outside.


Takada-no-baba Window Scene; © Ian Poole, 1996.

I was making photographs on my first morning, having arrived at the apartment late the previous evening; and my first glimpse of Tokyo was this scene.  It is the ubiquitous clothes hanging rail (seen on the narrow deck of almost every Japanese apartment) as seen through the paper covered (Shōji) windows from my sleeping futon.

I was to struggle with this pattern for most of my stay.  As can be seen from the battered Polaroid salvaged from my scrapbook, the laundry drying facilities and the nearby suburb are almost one and the same.  I attempted a Mondrian-like interpretation, utilizing water colours left over by a previous tenant.


Shōji Homage to Mondrian; © Ian Poole, 1996.

I also worked with my Hasselblad 6x6cm camera, thinking that medium format would clearly be the answer.  Using the square format does exercise the mind in an alternative way, but it is not necessarily the answer when composing a rectangular subject.  Even the seductive double notches on the left hand side of the negative are not enough to define the shot as strong and artistic.


Hasselblad Version; © Ian Poole 1996.

As is often the case with creativity; I have found that either the first or the last image taken in a session or on a project can be the definitive photograph.  This may have something to do with the initial reaction to a situation and a gut response; or after a period of exploration, there comes a complete understanding of the topic and an ability to resolve it, photographically, with the last final frame.

In this case it was the first frame.  Taken with a Canon EOS 1N, using Kodak T-Max 400 film and processed at my dear friend’s darkroom at Striped House Studio in Roppongi (Takuya Tsukahara).  The construction of the window is clearly seen, the latch is visible, the clothes hanger forms a pleasing pattern and there is a typical Asian asymmetrical construct about the image.  An image that I am proud of, but one that troubled me during my entire stay at Takada-no-baba.

Aah, such is creativity.


Tokyo Shōji; © Ian Poole, 1996.