Sabcar – a Brisbane Model Agency


Cheryl and Andrena; © Ian Poole, Brisbane March 1977

An opportunity to re-connect with the Principals and members of the Brisbane based model agency Sabcar , is also an opportunity to see some old photographs.

Most of these shots were taken to produce a major poster promoting all the talent at the Agency at that time – March 1977.

Produced at my studio at the old pink church in Warren Street, Fortitude Valley, it was a major exercise in logistics.

The negatives from this (and all my other commercial photographic output) is now stored at the John Oxley Library within the State Library of Queensland.


Cigarette; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March, 1977.

Any assistance in putting names to faces would be greatly appreciated.


Denise Moran; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977.


Narelle Meuller; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977.


Gloria McQuilty and ?; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977.


Karen Radel; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977.


Julie-Anne Ross; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977


Michelle Calcutt and Denise Moran; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977


Albert Park; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, March 1977


On a technical note, the majority of portraits in this very large project were shot on the medium format Hasselblad camera system using a 6x6cm black and white negative.  Both Kodak and Ilford films were used.  There were some shots taken using a Nikon 35mm outfit.

Additionally the bulk of the assignments were taken in the Warren Street Studios with a handful of sessions taken at Albert Park.



Further stories featuring Sabcar Model Agency are told here:




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)

A Wander down Memory Lane

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

115 Warren Street Studio; c.1979

It is often illuminating to wander back through the annals of time.  Following the setting up of my first solo business in 1976, I was pretty proud of the facilities that were created in the old pink former Lutheran church in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.  Pink, because in the effort of getting the landlord to repaint the exterior there was a mix-up between the landlord, the painter and us as to what constituted the true shade of Tuscan Pink.  None of the concerned parties had been to Tuscany – just David’s girlfriend!

Sharing space with David McCarthy, I now had access to 1,500 square feet (140 square metres) of studio, with an office larger than many contemporary studios today.  A total of over 4,000 sq ft (371 sq m), plus car parking for 5-7 vehicles, plus a courtyard and a storage shed in the back.  I was in photographic heaven.

Interior of Poole Studio Office;

Interior of Poole Studio Office; c1979.

A design magazine wanted to feature the trendiness of this space, and the attached photos give an illustration of the indulgence of space that was to be had in inner city Brisbane.  We were yet to come to grips with central business district crowding, and the subsequent high rents caused by a shortage of space.  That happened thirteen years later.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer - Cassells of Brisbane

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

To contrast the lavish use of space in our shared reception area, and our indulgent personal office space, it is also instructive to note the style, calibre and content of the illustrations that were coming out of the large studio on the first floor.

Straight black and white retail illustrations for news print were the bread and butter of the studio at this time.  White backgrounds and clear, clean lighting, with a rapid turnaround in the darkroom was the order of the day.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer - Shop 21;

Shop 21; © Ian Poole, c1979.

Thanks goodness for small specialist women’s outlets like Cassell’s and Shop 21.  Brisbane designer and art director, Malcolm Enright, makes mention of Cassell’s in his article in the Fashion Archives.  And Brisbane model of the era, Liz Golding, mentions Sabcar Model Agency in her interview in Fashion Archives.

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photogrpher- Jenny Teitzel

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

The illustrious ABC was a constant client, although their taste in advertising may have changed a little in the intervening years, as is evidenced in this early 1980s Brisbane Courier Mail advertisement.

Jenny Teitzel was the good sport model from Sabcar Agency to “Get it off” for me (and ABC radio).

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

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

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

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

Nifty Thrifty/Cut Price supermarkets, and the bridal boutique Bridies of Brisbane also supplied assignments along a similar pattern.  In studio, black and white, retail illustrations, shot on a white background; with a quick turnaround from the darkroom.  Thank you Denise Moran from Sabcar Model Agency.




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

Sabcar Hair and Beauty; © Ian Poole, c1980.








Ilford Joy Award


Ilford Joy Award, winning portfolio image; © Ian Poole 1975.

Winning a major photography award is a BIG moment in any one’s life; but particularly when you have made the leap of faith and tossed in a regularly paying job and moved into the business world with your own little enterprise.


Test shoot; © Ian Poole, 1975.

Such was the case when I won the Queensland section of the Ilford Joy Award (….in 1975).

The competition called for a themed set of four images illustrating the award’s title.  Having a brand new girl friend who was a model – the joy was all mine, trust me!  As I was busy promising to make her rich and famous, this Award could go a long way towards quantifying my modeling proposal.  Ilford FP4 film shot through my Hasselblad 500CM with an 80mm f2.8 T* Zeiss Planar and a 150mm f4 CF T* Zeiss Sonnar, and processed in ID-11; I was on my way.  Following a test shoot, which involved a longish drive in the country, it was decided to re-convene in a park near my Studio; which had a large old tree that had previously been used for portrait shoots.  See, I was learning – young attractive model contrasting with gnarled rough textured tree trunk for comparison.  A no-brainer.  I am on fire.


Ilford Joy Award, winning portfolio image; © Ian Poole, 1975. (note 2 notches left side of image)

In defense of the fashions portrayed in these (prize winning) images, it must be said that it was contemporary uber-stylish, which could only enhance my photographic presentation.  Well, I suspect that my ability was eclipsed by the fashion.  Denise had a better touch in this regard, and I was at the start of a very steep learning curve, photographically speaking.


Ilford Joy Award, winning portfolio image; © Ian Poole, 1975.

Of a technical note, all my images were printed full frame in the square format – showing my great knowledge of the art maxim that indicated “this image is not cropped, but presented as the author saw and exposed the negative“.  I knew this type of deep and sensitive knowledge of photographic art would sway the Judges.  I further knew that by including the traditional double V notches on the left side of the print, the Judges would respect my wise and astute investment into the Hasselblad system.

The naivete of the Boy Photographer is almost touching.

Denise Moran from Sabcar Model Agency was the joyful subject of this exercise; and doubtless I am indebted to her for swaying the Judges into giving me my first valuable prize in photography.


This prize stayed in my possession long enough to be photographed, and then rushed to the bank where it was desperately needed!; © Ian Poole