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!


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!)





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.



Queen Elizabeth II, the Midlands; © Eve Arnold, 1968.

A destinational photographic assignment is the ultimate goal for some photographers. The wedding booking at a tropical island location, the elopement wedding in romantic Rome, the fashion shoot with a famous designer in Paris; or in my case, my first job of this ilk, documenting a contemporary ballet company at an arts festival in Scotland. The invitation came very early in my career and all I could visualise was Aberdeen, Scotland – overseas!  Careful analysis of the requisite photography fees, thoughtful consideration of the opportunity costs of lost work whilst away from the studio, detailed planning of material costs?  These thoughts all arose and promptly faded faster than you could say Hogmanay, single malt whisky or Loch Lomond. Having just met my first Magnum photographer, I was beginning to plan a career that would have me traveling world wide, living out of a camera bag and becoming famous beyond my wildest dreams.  Ah, the confidence of youth and inexperience… One of the privileges of volunteering to assist at photographic industry functions is the chance to rub shoulders with the famous practitioners of our profession.  Such was the case at one of the first conferences held by the old Institute of Australian Photography (IAP) on the Gold Coast in Queensland.  New Zealand photographer Brian Brake (1927-1988) had been invited to speak and to show his famous Life Magazine photo essay, MonsoonScreen Shot 2015-04-27 at 12.16.53 pmAs a full member of Magnum since 1957, Brake was the perfect person to advise about my upcoming Scottish trip.  He suggested where I could get colour transparency film processed in London prior to my return home as this would avoid the issue of potential X-ray fogging that was a common problem with air travel then, 1988.  Brake also suggested that I call a friend of his who lived on the edge of London and would probably invite me to call on her and share afternoon tea.  Following my trip to Aberdeen and arriving back in London with a couple of days to spare, I felt I should do the honourable thing and call Brake’s friend.  Although, in all honesty I didn’t feel it required an afternoon tea with an aged and unknown lady!  She was very polite to me, sorry that I couldn’t travel out to see her, and advised me that Brake had written expressly to her introducing his newest wild colonial boy photographer from Australia.  That was how I did not get to meet Eve Arnold OBE, Hon FRPS (1912-2012)!  For those of you as naive as I was, Arnold was then a doyenne of world photography, had shot Marilyn Monroe Monroe - An Appreciationon the set of The Misfits, photographed Queen Elizabeth II, Malcolm X and Joan Crawford.  She had created celebrated books about China, Russia. South Africa and Afghanistan.  Sadly my photographic knowledge was totally remiss, to this day my loss. Much later, there was a time when I had landed the plum job of documenting a Great Barrier Reef resort for a noted advertising agency.  This was the job that would gently remind me to recognise and then anticipate the hassles that came with destination photography.  Four tightly written pages of briefing notes and two nights on an exotic island paradise did not immediately ring alarm bells.  The lack of sunshine on the first day did start to play with my mind! Only then did I start to question whether I had quoted enough to cover the stress of working against the elements and the clock while being re-directed by a client hundreds of kilometers away from the reality of what was happening around me. It certainly wasn’t my last destination assignment.  I went on to undertake many such endeavours, but only after quoting them at a rate that adequately covered my time away from my studio and recompensed me sufficiently for my time, effort, creativity and stress.  Of course I subsequently lost a few quotes, but never did I weep tears of blood about such things.  Win, lose or draw – it’s all in the game.


The Destination Photographer Channels Mondrian; © Ian Poole, Tokyo, 1996.

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 12.34.05 pmThis essay first appeared in f11 :: for PHOTOGRAPHERS and AFICIONADOSp146, issue 42, April 2015.

Photography Institutes – some things never change

The Institute of Australian Photography (IAP) was the earlier name for the august body that is now called Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP).  Founded in 1963 with Claude McCarthy OAM Hon. FAIPP as the inaugural President, the IAP was the first serious attempt to create an Australian national photographic body that would represent professional photographers both to clients, to government and to industry.  A recurring theme was the desire to mount an advertising campaign that would address some of those concerns.

Claude McCarthy’s son, David McCarthy OAM AAIPP Honorary Life Member, Hon. FAIPP, was IAP President in 1976/77.  As an advertising and commercial photographer based in Brisbane, David felt that he should use his skills and contacts in the advertising world to mount such a campaign.

IAP_03_blog_PooleMany attempts had been made to devise a plan that might advertise and promote a discussion about professionalism.  Attempts had been made previously on a local and a State level but lack of funds always created the biggest hurdle.  By utilising connections within the advertising agency world in Brisbane, David was able to convince a prominent art director to create a series of advertisements that were of a professional nature.

IAP_01_blog_PooleDavid was responsible for most of the photography.

IAP_04_blog_PooleAs I shared studio premises with David McCarthy, and was an Australian Councillor (precursor to today’s Board) and a former Queensland President, it followed that I was aware of, and assisted with some of the campaign.

IAP_02_blog_PooleThe campaign was created sometime in the mid 1980s.  Exact date is unknown.

IAP_05_blog_PooleIt would lovely to report that the promotion was a smashing success and boosted earnings of photographers across the country.  Sadly that was not the case.  I have a feeling that one or two of the layouts were run in country/regional Queensland, but newspaper placement costs made the whole effort unusable.


These historical documents represent a minute portion of an archive of negatives, transparencies, photographic prints and memorabilia that has been gifted to the John Oxley Historical Library, State Library of Queensland.



Probably not a Good Idea to try These Photographs Today…..

Ian-Poole, ABC Radio

ABC 612 4QR; © Ian Poole, c1980


In the bad old days of the late 1970s and early 1980s, advertising photography and public standards were of a different nature and political correctness.  Advertising commissions that I was given, and happily photographed, are now looked at with entirely different eyes and thought processes.


Brisbane Gas Board; © Ian Poole.

Take the newspaper advertisement completed and published, for our Australian national broadcaster, the ABC.  Whilst there was no difficulty in getting our model Jenny to leap into a swimming pool and pretend to lift her t-shirt (carefully printed with the catch phrase by the ABC Advertising Department), I doubt this concept would get past Aunty’s management drawing board today.

I have no idea of what was in the heads of the creative department of the Brisbane branch of a well known international advertising agency when they conceived a shot containing seven naked small children of both genders and an almost naked male (yes male) media personality and a large bathtub!!  Mind you the precursor to the AIPP (the Institute of Australian Photographers – IAP) was happy to put the image on the front cover of their May/June 1979 issue.  I was happy that they did, the magazine included a double page spread sprouting my ability.

Talk about degree of difficulty!  Whilst seven children feature in the shot, there were another three who didn’t co-operate who were removed from the set just prior to the shoot.  Placating those mothers (by promising to pay their model fee) and wrangling the other mothers off the set, and laying out electronic flash cabling in a safe manner, AND preserving what decency one could – this was a difficult enough task.  And did I mention that the only large bathtub that I could find with enough space around it was in a dubious Bath House – which we could only use on a Sunday afternoon?

Ian-Poole-Photography-Brisbane, Cloudland Bikini

Cloudland Market; © Ian Poole  c1979.

Supplying an eye catching photograph for a suburban “pop-up” market at very short notice from the advertising agency (with little or no talent budget), called for cajoling female friends of friends seeking a favour from them – from memory in return for a crocheted string bikini.

For this remarkably low budget commission, I probably received an hour’s studio fee and the sale of a few 10×8″ black and white glossies.

The 1978 Beenleigh Rum Calendar was a big job, with a good sized budget and required on location surveys and model casting sessions.

Beenleigh Rum; © Ian Poole, 1978.

Beenleigh Rum; © Ian Poole, 1978.

What were they/we thinking?  The session was eventually shot in the studio and not on location in a sugar cane field near the distillery – much to the model’s relief.

At the time it wasn’t considered out of the question, and there was a faint possibility that the resultant glossy calendar may even garner some advertising awards.

It didn’t!

Digging through the archives has unearthed a rich vein (?) of such dubious and questionable images that I will save some of the others for a future post.


Look out for Part II.