Making Pig Products more Personable


KR Darling Downs I; © Ian Poole, 1980

It is 1980 and my fledgling photographic business is grateful for any assignments thrust my way.

My close mate, the Art Director, turns up at my Studio in the old pink church, with a set of water colour renderings that he has just had drawn at the direction of the client.  The Client thought that it would be a good idea to show the source of his product in a cute and humorous way.

The source was a pig!     And the product was bacon! 


KR Darling Downs II; © Ian Poole, 1980

That is how the KR Darling Downs Christmas Card Assignment was launched.  My reservations about the quality of the concept are more pronounced today than they were way back in another century.

After all, an advertising photographer is just a hired camera sitting around waiting for a commission.

My job was to reproduce the artwork as accurately as possible for printing of Christmas Cards and a possible brochure.  This was a time of black and white newspapers, and whilst it may have been reproduced in the Toowoomba Chronicle, that was not a concern on this occasion.  Working at the 115 Warren Street, Fortitude Valley Studio, and using my Sinar P2 (5×4″) screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-5-34-12-pmcamera, Kodak Ektachrome transparency film and a Kodak Color Control Patch – I more than had this assignment covered!

Founded in 1911 as the Darling Downs Bacon Co-operative, KR Darling Downs eventually closed in 2006 putting 350 people out of work.  The company was a large employer in the Toowoomba region.

My connection was via the advertising agency Hertz Walpole and its art director Gary Edgar.  Over later years I was to produce some food photography for brochures.  My everlasting memory was of executives from the bacon company driving down from Toowoomba bringing packages of product for use in the photography sessions, and their boredom eventually culminating with their disappearance from the studio around lunchtime to visit a hotel.  Fortunately not to be seen again that day!


KR Darling Downs III; © Ian Poole, 1980

Agency:  Hertz Walpole, Brisbane
Art Director:  Gary Edgar
Artist:  Unknown
Client:  KR Darling Downs Pty Ltd, Toowoomba

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These transparencies (IAN POOLE does PHOTOGRAPHY file #4737) (and many others), will become part of an online searchable database at the John Oxley Historical Library within the State Library of Queensland during 2017.



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!


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.

Perceived Style and Image via Motor Vehicle Ownership


Cindy and Joy, Posing with the Boss at Jollys Lookout.

In the late 1970s I was driving a Fiat 130.  This was a chunky stolid sedan purchased second hand and suffering badly with broken torn leather upholstry – not well designed for tropical Brisbane heat.  It was an imperative that a new vehicle was required – one that would reflect my position in society.  A young advertising photography working out of a trendy inner city church converted into a Studio.  A cavalier Man About Town type of guy.

A Fiat X 1/9 was brought into my life.  Designed by the great Italian Bertone, it possessed a mid-mounted engine (as did the Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer), it had a removable roof (as did the Porshe Targa), and held my photographic equipment.   W e l l  sort of; I did insist that the salesman bring the test vehicle to the Studio where we went through the farce of loading the smallest kit I could gather into (tightly) the two boots available to me.  Of course, the staff then followed in my footsteps with Cindy (my assistant) suddenly needing an MG Midget and Joy (the receptionist) appeared with a Triumph Spitfire.  Neither of these classic British roadsters (albeit in British Racing Green) could compare with the élan of an Italian thoroughbred!

Now that the establishment of IAN POOLE does PHOTOGRAPHY had the most stylish crew in the entire city of Brisbane, this moment had to be documented.  The entire crew (including assistants from the co-tenant Studio) assembled at a near city mountain top, at sunrise, to create a powerful piece of communication.


In Glorious Living Colour (+ expensive French leather driving cap, string backed driving gloves carefully hidden……)

I had started something from which there was no return.


Final Fiat Pose.

The lease ran its term, and I realised that the Fiat, whilst a glorious road holding beast, was seriously underpowered.  Two of my friends were driving other versions of Italian sports machines, and it was a short step to changing marques.  The sad farewell of the Fiat took place at Albion Motors, where the delivery of an Alfa Romeo GTV was sealed late one afternoon.


The Unrestrained Joy of a Successful Salesman; © Ian Poole.

As always, the test vehicle was duly put through its paces, and photographic equipment was carefully placed in the now larger boot of the GTV, to ensure that the purchase would function as a sturdy work horse.  There was no removable roof to allow wind in one’s hair, but it did have a back seat (of a sort…..); and the boot was way bigger (well, a little bit).

The joy of a happy salesman lasts until the new purchaser drives off into the distance.


5×4″ Sinar outfit on location at Bunya Mountains; © Ian Poole, c1983.

Naturally this new purchase needed to be used as a work beast – not as fashion accessory for the upwardly mobile young photographer.  It was very useful to maintain a connection with like minded art directors and naturally they drove with me to assignments on location.

The 1980s were a time of rampant consumerism, and eventually led to “the recession we had to have” – but I was neither astute enough nor interested enough, to see that coming.

No only were these automotive purchases being used as signifiers of amazing creativity, style and panache, they were also being used as backdrops for images that expressed my innate ability to connect Italian style with the glory that is the human form.