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.


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:




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!)





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)

Old Debates, New Players

Sitting hunched over a computer keyboard on Saint Valentine’s Day speaks volumes about my underlying fear of the dreaded publisher of this august journal (f11 :: for PHOTOGRAPHERS AND AFICIONADOS), a looming deadline interfering with any romantic notions I might have of proffering undying love to my nearest and dearest. 

Tim Steele

Tim Steele; Creative Director f11 Magazine

As a noted, experienced and well-documented procrastinator, I am frequently under the whip of the ringmaster of this magazine.  The dark lord, as we refer to him, has patiently explained to me time and again that the lash is entirely optional, and that if I submit copy on time I will never hear its crack again.  I am not the silver tongued writer who regularly gets double page spreads (with a photograph and text littered with literary gems), nor the teacher’s favourite who is consistently two articles ahead at any given time, nor even one of the other golden haired correspondents who file their copy on-time, typo-free and without the need for constant editorial harassment. (Who the hell are these people? – ED)

As visions of rose petals and champagne flutes floated in my head I was reminded of the passion that photographers have traditionally shown towards their cameras and equipment.

Sometimes blind beyond all reason.


Poole in Warren Street Studio; Brisbane, c1985

Going back 40 or 50 years the bulk of professional photographers worked with medium format cameras.  I have personally owned both of the most preferred brands, being Hasselblad and Mamiya; with my bias leaning towards the Swedish camera.  Mind you, the 6x7cm format of the Mamiya RB outfit helped produce an uncropped 10×8” (25x20cm) print with great ease.  As small format 35mm cameras started to produce great results from lighter and less obtrusive equipment some of the most passionate debates were then staged.  I have strong memories of workshops and conventions dividing into Nikon and Canon camps with an intensity that was palpable. The idea of ignoring great manufacturers like Olympus, Minolta, Pentax or even Contax always intrigued and puzzled me.

As we moved into the digital age, we were left with the two great brands of Nikon and Canon to garner passionate interaction from photographers. Having very recently moved to one of the smaller competitors of these marques,  I am now in the middle of this very lively debate amongst my personal circle of photo friends.  Editing some files for possible award entries, I have been amazed at the detail being manifested from my insignificantly small Fujifilm X series cropped sensor camera.  (You’re a late arrival at this party… – ED)

The debate continues.

Balcar A2400

Balcar A2400

Other items of equipment have brought similar passions to the fore.  Let’s talk electronic flash for instance.  In my case, early passions were pragmatically driven by finance – hence an initial happy relationship with British Bowens equipment, but then I was seduced by the small size and huge output of the French Balcar.  Never mind the somewhat Gallic devil-may-care attitude to Australia’s considerably higher electric current compared to that of France.  Eventually I made a quantum leap to Swiss Broncolor – thanks to a kind and understanding bank manager.

You have probably noticed that I have completely skirted around marques like Leica and Sinar and Graflex and Toyoview; let alone Cambo and Arca-Swiss.  These all had, or still have, zealous devotees.

I’m about to run foul of the dark lord, this piece straying perilously close to pandering to ideas of brand zealotry and away from the process, brand and technology agnosticism this magazine has always stood for.

The winds of change are again redrawing the imaging technology landscape, making new, revived or outlier brands seductive and alluring, encouraging not only debate and comparison – but conversion, adoption and loyalties.

How much passion will be retained for the brands of old, and will these become generational rather than technological divides?

Old debates revived, but with new players holding new positions.

f11 issue 41  This essay first appeared in f11 :: for PHOTOGRAPHERS and AFICIONADOS, p146, issue 41, March 2015.

Driving West


Rail Crossing #1; © Ian Poole, c1998.


Looking East; © Ian Poole, c1998.

A driving trip to Winton in North Western Queensland involves some considerable distances through the apparently uninteresting Australian outback.


Barcaldine Masonic Lodge; © Ian Poole, c1998.

Armed with a Hasselblad 903SWC and lots of Agfa 100 and 400 black and white film, I was determined to find photographs nevertheless.  The incongruity of a rail line level crossing in the middle of nowhere was an exercise in working horizontal lines into the square format of the Hasselblad.  A task that I have relished most of my working career.  The upsurge in usage of the smart phone app of Instagram has re-ignited that discussion.

Passing through the small town of Barcaldine en route to Winton, I discovered the iconic and delightful Masonic Lodge.  Dedicated in 1901, this amazing building had had a chequered career having been “moved” from several small adjacent towns until its eventual settlement in the rural town of Barcaldine.  Clad in corrugated iron, it possess a much more genteel and decorative interior.


Self-Portrait #1; © Ian Poole, c1998.

My destination was Winton where I was to be hosted by that great gentleman Rob McQueen on his cattle property (Leeson), some little distance out of town.  This working property gave me an opportunity to discover and document some run down buildings.



Self-Portrat #2; © Ian Poole, c1998.



Self-Portait #3; © Ian Poole,

Self-Portait #3; © Ian Poole, c1998,








Skeleton; © Ian Poole, c1998.











903SWC On Location; © Ian Poole, c1998.


It is Nice to See Old Friend(s) Again


Rob McQueen, Winton; © John Elliott, 2013.

Born in Blackall, western Queensland, my photographer friend John Elliott constantly revisits his hometown, as well as the nearby towns of Mt Isa, Boulia, Barcaldine and Winton.  This area has been a rich treasure trove of photographic opportunities for him.  On a visit to Winton this week John found a portrait that I had done of him back in 1992, and subsequently gifted to a local grazier with a keen interest in photography, Rob McQueen.  Rob was kind enough to offer me hospitality whilst I was judging an early BHP Billiton Cannington Waltzing Matilda Photographic Competition.

For me, the gift of a photograph is as good as it gets; so when you see a photograph that had been gifted to someone else a long time ago, being produced (in good condition) and shown proudly, I am doubly rewarded.  Being welcomed into Rob’s homestead, fed and watered; and then shown around his property was a buzz for a city boy like me.  Rob spotted the quirkiness of the Elliott portrait amongst the small exhibition I brought with me for the obligatory “show and tell” I did at a workshop for local photographers; and I knew that it would have a good home.

The image of John was part of a series of Brisbane based artists that I shot in the early 1990s.  My aim was to not only secure a good portrait of the artist but also show something of the environment or studio where they worked.  In John’s case, he was a reportage photographer working out of his camera bag, rather than a studio; and his Brisbane inner city apartment was as close as I could get to a working environment.  I had set myself some creative parameters and was trying to use the Hasselblad SuperWide camera (903SWC) because it enabled me to include large amounts of background.  The downside was that this is not a camera designed for portraits – it foreshortened the subject close to the lens.  Additionally I was limiting my equipment to a tripod and a hand held Metz flash.  It John’s case I had just arranged a time and a day and was trusting to luck in finding the angle, the appropriate location and any props that might be handy.  John had a new Celtic tattoo (so the shirt was removed) and the revolver stuck into the skull sort of appeared from nowhere, as did the naked girl in the background!  Unbeknownst to me he had arranged for Sammy to disrobe just prior to my taking the photograph, and not wanting to slow down the creative juices, I went with the flow…….   The angle and the viewpoint is all mine – the props, the atmosphere and supporting models are all John’s handywork.


Lawrence Daws at Glasshouse Mountains; © Ian Poole, 1992.

A slightly less controversial portrait was of the experienced painter Lawrence Daws who allowed me to document him in his country studio in the foothills of Queensland’s Glasshouse Mountains; and using the same technique as with John I was able to record great detail of his then empty studio and allow him to dominate the space within the frame.

The idea of using such a wide angle lens (f4.5 T* Zeiss Biogon 38mm on 6x6cm format) was that it’s incredible depth of field coupled with its wide field of view meant that I could find detail and information within the smallest room, as long as I was careful with my composition and did not come too close to my subject.  Indeed a worthy challenge.


John Elliott at New Farm; © Ian Poole, 1992.

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.

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

Instagram – Real Photography or Not?


Incident on Ginza-dori, Tokyo; © Ian Poole, 2012.

In an article (page 10 March 2012) written for my Auckland based friend, Tim Steele, in his f11 Magazine, I spoke of my anxious concern as to whether a smart phone could take photos/be a camera.  As a late adopter of smart phone technology (an early adopter of belt mounted pagers in the late 1970s, but that possibly doesn’t count); I came to the concept of mobile phones as cameras rather late in life.  Up until late 2011 the telephone had been a “ring ring – hello” type of device for me.  At that time I was preparing for a trip to Japan and was keen to share images with friends both at home and on my travels.  Whether my Japanese friends had good English skills (my Japanese is just short of non-existent) they all had good visual literacy skills.  Therefore photography was a legitimate form of communication.


Clouds over Queenstown; © Ian Poole 2013.

Despite using professional equipment (Nikon D800 and a much loved Panasonic Lumix GF1), I found that the note taking capacity of my i-Phone was seductively easy; as was the instant capacity to communicate with friends on the run with Instagram.  There has been contemporary debate about Instagram since its sale to Facebook, but whilst I have taken some cherished images and placed into this software, it is a visual communication device that differs from my “real” cameras.


Homage to Cartier-Bresson at Matisse Exhibition; © Ian Poole Brisbane, 2011.

Moving from travel documentary, I found that the ready availability of have a device in my pocket led to images being taken that would not normally be exposed.  I am not a reportage type of Cartier-Bresson photographer, but found that I was seeing and taking more of these style of images.  My i-Phone had become a notebook that was as indispensable as my Moleskine.

Just as good darkroom technique is important in analogue photography, post-production with i-Phone (or Android) images is critical.  My preferred software is Snapseed, with a camera setting called 6×6 permanently set at black and white as my monochrome image maker; reminiscent of Hasselblad days.

Yes, my i-Phone is an integral item in my camera bag; no, it hasn’t replaced any of my cameras (and that includes a Holga, a Lubitel, a Sharan pinhole and some more serious bits and pieces.


One Way – Keep Left; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 2011.


Guardian Angel, Queenstown, New Zealand; © Ian Poole, 2013.


Brisbane Cliche Wedding Location; © Ian Poole, 2012.