August 2016 was a great month

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


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)


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


Opposite The Ritz; © Ian Poole, 2016.


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.





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.

Great Wedding, Great Party – Super Great Photographs


It Did Rain; © Adam Finch Brisbane 2014


Introducing The Groom, The Camera, Adam Finch and Mike Langford; © Jackie Ranken Brisbane 2014

Whilst there were far greater and more important decisions to be made regarding the impending nuptials between Louise and myself, it did occur to me that a photographer should be commissioned to document the event.


Photographic Dilemma; © Jackie Ranken, Brisbane 2014


The Photographer Who Said No; © Adam Finch 2014

Even a burnt out advertising photographer like me knows that such occasions should be recorded properly, correctly and by a professional ~ I have shot a few weddings in my time and recognised that there is a skill involved.  First talk to the Daughter.

NO WAY!  Not even the “inducement” that this would further her career would wash with her; also she wished to enjoy the party and not be concerned about the minutiae of the day.

As I cast my eye over the guest list I realised that there were almost as many photographers as there were civilian guests.  Many of them leaders in their fields both here in Australia and overseas.  We have a problem!

Being given the job of photographically tap dancing in front of a group of your peers is not necessarily the easiest task in the world – couple that up with the Groom having firm opinions about what constitutes a good photograph and a Bride who would prefer to do her thing behind the scenes; we now have a difficult commission.

Knowing that I have a very good friend who just happens to be one of the young breed of highly skilled creative wedding photographers now working in Australia, I broach the subject with Adam Finch.

Tie Adjustment + Photographer; © Jackie Ranken 2014

Tie Adjustment by Photographer + Photographer; © Jackie Ranken 2014

We have a deal; and coupled with the fact that equally good friends are staying with me prior to the event and have offered to document the event in a less formal and in an under no pressure manner.

Thank you Jackie Ranken and Mike Langford from Queenstown NZ.


The Secret Car Park Location; © Adam Finch 2014


The Bride and Her Daughters; © Adam Finch 2014











The Signing; © Jackie Ranken 2014


Well He Used to….; © Jackie Ranken 2014

A photography blog should be mostly about photography, so here are a selection from the day.










All Weddings should have a Photo Bomber; © Adam Finch










Creative Botanical Photographer –   Gary Cranitch; © Adam Finch 2014













Some Old Mates Catch Up; © Jackie Ranken 2014








Hide Matsuhisa Made it from Tokyo; © Jackie Ranken 2014











……..and the final photographic word should go to –


Creative Wedding Interpretation; © Gary Mitchell, 2014


The Photographic Printer

One of the most under reported photographic relationships is that of the photographer and their printer.


Adam and Eve (The Fall of Man); Albrecht Durer

Other art genres rely heavily on the artisan skill of the printer –  the person who transfers the original artwork onto paper.  The engravings of Rembrandt and Albrecht Dürer, the aquatints of Goya or the many versions of woodblocks originally created by Hans Holbein the Younger.  These artisan craftsmen were prized for their technical skills as these were an integral part of getting the artist’s creativity onto the final media, and thereby out to their audience and patrons.


Voja Mitrovic at the Coupole, Montparnasse, Paris, 1993; © Peter Turnley.

In the photographic world such relationships have existed, even in an industry that has been extensively built around the solo activity of the photographer who processed their own negatives and printed their own photographic images.  One of the great documented relationships was that between Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) and Voja Mitrovic  (1937-).  Cartier-Bresson was more interested in the creation of a photograph and disdained what we would today call ‘post-production’, where the image is enhanced during the printing stage.

Voja Mitrovic worked for Picto Labo Photo, the legendary Paris based photographic laboratory; and whilst Cartier-Bresson was one of the big name clients, it is difficult to separate him from names like Sebastio Salgado, Marc Riboud, Robert Doisneau, Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh or Edouard Boubat – such are the authors of negatives that Mitrovic worked with.  Mitrovic produced images between 1967 and 1997.

The partnership between the Australian artist Bill Henson and the Melbourne photographic academic Dr Les Walkling was borne from Henson’s need to move from analogue based printing to digital editing and printing.  Walkling’s skills are also shared by Melbourne based artist Polixeni Papapetrou, showing that these particular printing skills are in demand by photographic artists seeking the best possible outcome for their work.

Mexican born Maurice Otega worked for Arnold Newman in New York, before moving to Sydney, where he has printed for, and advised the likes of, Henri Talbot and Tracey Moffatt.  It is Otega’s definitive skill in working with the palladium process that has stood him apart – a skill that is rare at the best of times, but almost unobtainable in Australia.  Of course it may be the trade secrets that Otega learned whilst sweeping the darkroom floor at the atelier of Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902-2002).


Nine Concretions, Koekohe Beach, Moeraki, New Zealand, 2013; © Michael Kenna.

Then we have well recognized practitioners like Landscape photographer Michael Kenna who publicly states that the job of printing (and he is referring to the analogue process) is his and his alone.  Kenna is at home in his darkroom and finds that the process does not finish with the click of the shutter, but rather when he has exposed his print and signed it.

Whilst the work of Walkling and Otega is in the area of fine art, Mitrovic’s work for Cartier-Bresson has a parallel in the oeuvre of Brisbane photographer Darren Jew.  Whilst Jew is known for his underwater camera work (Australian Science Photographer of the Year for 2012/11/09), his mainstay endeavour is custom printing for a select group of clients, as well as his high quality on-line sales of personal work.  Jew practices the time honoured craft of interpreting the photographer’s exposures and placing that onto paper using archival ink.  His recent effort of printing over 90 exhibition quality prints for over 20 photographers entered in an industry awards competition, produced over 30 images receiving awards.  Including the winning portfolio of the 2013 Queensland Professional Photographer of the Year.   This is where the collaboration between photographer and printer is best illustrated.

No less a skill than that of the artisans working under the direction of the great classic artists, partnerships recognising without ego that complimentary skills can realise a vision of perfection; rather than merely achieving a state of workmanlike adequacy.

Somewhat begging the question, why is this traditionally symbiotic relationship so rare these days? Do we increasingly embrace creative DIY for pleasure, for ego or for economy?

And a follow up question, as more applications for imagery move towards display devices rather than surfaces or substrates, why has this enabling ‘printing’ craft not migrated to the desktop as ‘visualising’, fostering a new generation of craftsmen and women enabling, enhancing and perfecting imagery for the screen, much as the printer would have done for paper, board or canvas?

Reproduced with kind permission – p138 July issue f11 Magazine 


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.

131 Anonymous Photographs


Add On 2013 Exhibition; Depot II Gallery, Waterloo, Sydney.

Imagine 131 untitled, unnamed, uniformly sized, non-competitive, plainly printed photographs without rank or status or embellishment snaking around the pristine walls of a warehouse style gallery.  What a wonderful concept!

The power of the images is not their size, but the fact that a democracy has been dictated via the almost mundane and banal presentation.  The viewer must approach each piece to discover content, context; and in doing so, is then encouraged to view its neighbour etc etc etc.  AddOn2013

The AddOn Curator, Charles McKean, and Festival Director Moshe Rosenzveig are to be congratulated for staging this great event.

The Head On Photo Festival, Australia’s largest photo festival and the world’s second largest festival is heading into its fourth year; Head On celebrates a wide range of photography across all genres from photojournalism and reportage through commercial to fine-art.  With over 200 events at 100 venues, the 2012 festival was a resounding success.  The 2013 Event has just opened.  The Add On exhibition gives another perspective to the concept of showing photography.

For a small fee, exhibitors get to participate in a well run exhibition, and at the end of the show receive a randomly drawn image from another participant.  In my case I used an image that I have written about before, but has never been publicly shown (if the interweb world of blogging doesn’t count).  Thanks for fellow Foto Frenzy Director Darren Jew for the insitu image.  And I wait with interest to see what image will shortly grace the Poole Collection.


The Nevis Tree; image courtesy of Darren Jew.


The Last Weekend; © Darren Jew, 2012.

Such is the anonymity of this Exhibition, I am unable to acknowledge the authors of the images either side of me.

But I can show an image by Darren – one that is not piscatorial in nature.

The value of Exhibitions such as these is that the photographs are viewed as images – entirely without supporting detail or text.  Whilst I am aware that I am hanging in very good company (the exhibitor list contains some big Australian names), the viewer will enjoy the show the strength of its visual impact, not its crowd drawing personality or publicity campaign.

And such is the confidence of the non-attending exhibitor, I can’t help but think that this group of animated attendees at the Opening last night were busily discussing my image so clearly in the background – or maybe it was the vintage of the champagne………..


Image courtesy of Anni Payne, Sydney.