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.





No Time Like the Present?


2016 Hair of the Dog; Photo courtesy of Queensland AIPP.

As a well known and committed procrastinator, it was only a few weeks ago that I realised that a couple of 2016 projects and goals were going to need quite a number of new, exciting and creative photographs taken.  Creativity is one of those skills that has never come easily to me – and probably never will.  So delaying making plans to fulfil the requirements of my own needs was another stuttering step embedded in my procrastination.

I was brought back to reality when a week out from a long-planned speaking engagement I realised that the details loosely floating around in my head needed to be set in audio-visual concrete and speaking notes were required to keep me within the tight time constraints nominated by conference management.


Portfolio Review, Hair of the Dog; Photo courtesy of Q’land AIPP.

This flurry of activity then generated the realisation that other projects needed just as much urgent attention.

Coinciding with my small commitments to the photography convention was the visit of a couple of international friends who were key-note speakers on the same bill.  My hosting them during their Brisbane stay was one of those privileged benefits gained from having access to peer review from long time friends.  I have banged on often enough in this column about the value of mentors, and peer review to enhance your understanding of your own work, and so here was my opportunity.


Mike and Jackie; Photo courtesy of Queensland AIPP.

It soon became obvious that it wasn’t the chilled Chardonnay being taken to ward off Brisbane’s humid summer that was doing the talking – but that I had some mental blocks that required re-adjustment.  A lot of the current images that were being compiled to complete these projects were taken on overseas jaunts.  Certainly an obvious way to seek out new visual interpretations, but not necessarily the only way of completing assignments.

NIMBY – not in my back yard – had become part of my raison d’être.  I had become the very person I have spent most of my teaching and mentoring career warning students against.

With some firm and pointed observations my friends noted loudly that I wasn’t spending much time documenting my beloved home town.  ‘Where are the photos of locals and familiar scenes?’ they asked.  Another good friend is working on a personal project titled 500 metres from my desk and I have been giving him strong encouragement on seeing his powerful and creative images.

I was obviously having difficulty in seeing 5 metres from my desk, much less 500!

With these thoughts pulsing through my brain I attended the opening of an exhibition that had had its genesis during Australia’s bi-centennial back in 1988.   The re-hanging of this show would give me a chance to revisit the prints that I had processed for one of the six artists being shown.  A chance to review my processing skills after almost 30 years. They were still in good condition!


Glen O’Malley + Subject; © Ian Poole, Brisbane 2016.

More importantly I took a camera with me to the gallery.  Now there is a radical thought.  Well for me it was – I know I tell every one else to carry a camera, yet often I am not one to do so.  To my absolute surprise a couple of shots jumped out in front of me.  One or two are tolerable and may well end up residing in a presentation portfolio.

Several conclusions were reached in the past few weeks.  Good photographic friends are valuable beyond words, even if their comments are sharp and cutting and a little too close to the bone; interesting photographs are sitting, waiting for all of us very close to where we are at this very moment; and having a challenge and being challenged is the quickest way to lift the quality of one’s visual output.

I’m on to it now! Stay tuned…

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This essay first appeared in f11 Magazine :: for PHOTOGRAPHERS and AFICIONADOSp152, issue 52 :: March, 2016.

Ballarat International Foto Biennale Print Collection


Port Fairy Music Festival 2015; © Paul Griggs.

I have written previously about the pleasure I take in supporting an organisation as important as the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and the concept of print swaps where one’s personal collection can be extended, including more formal print swaps like this.


Arts et Metiers, Paris; © Ian Poole, 2015.

In the recent Red Dot Ballarat Collection I was lucky enough to receive the Paul Griggs‘ photograph shown above.  The nature of the Ballarat fundraising event is that the photographs are sought as a donation from photographers and exhibited anonymously on the walls of Eleven40 Gallery in Melbourne.  A BIG shout out to Eleven40 for their ongoing support over a number of years.  See their web site for a full set of illustrations and authors’ names.

Because I am an interstate supporter and unable to attend, I had sent my list of preferred (anonymous) photographs to Jeff Moorfoot, Creative Director of the Management Team.  I recognised a couple of the images, thought I recognised a couple of others (mostly incorrectly) and lusted after a couple of other shots.     …..and then waited to be told what my Red Dot investment had achieved.


Sydney Charles Bromley 1969; © Robert Imhoff.

Firstly, it was lovely to be advised that my contribution, Arts et Metiers, Paris, had been red dotted by that doyen of Australian photography, Judy Foreman.  I hope she enjoys the photograph as much as I did taking it on a recent trip to Paris.  Secondly I gained the Port Fairy Music Festival 2015, which was on my list, but not known as a Paul Griggs’ photograph.  I have been a long time admirer of Paul’s work in the wedding arena where he was one of the first practitioners of reportage using black and white, documentary coverage with a Leica camera.  I can recall judging some of his early work in the AIPP’s Award system with great clarity today.  This is a contemporary example of that skill and will hang with pride in my personal gallery.


Burj Khalfa 2010; © Tim Griffith

Then come the photographs that I DIDN’T get.  I recognised the Imhoff photograph from the cover of Imhoff: a life of grain & pixels lying on my sideboard.  I should have recognised the Tim Griffith’ Burj Khalifa 2010 as being a great example of his architectural oeuvre – but I didn’t!  The Poole Collection is still missing one of his masterpieces.


Fiordland Diva; © Jackie Ranken

I am very familiar with the work of Jackie Ranken, but she fooled me this time – I missed this one.  I didn’t miss her partner, Mike Langford’s offering, as I had attempted to photograph the same tree with a much, much lessor result.  Maybe I should go back in winter?


Mataouri Tree; © Mike Langford


Goroka; © Stephen Dupont

I should have recognised Stephen Dupont’s homage to Irving Penn with his Goroka, and if I had I would have put him closer to the top of my red dot list.

I was taken by the construction of Jack Picone’s Dhows 1 long before I was aware of his name connected with the photograph.  A Master of the documentary craft, it would also have hung with great pride in the Poole Collection.


Dhows 1; Jack Picone

I did recognise and enjoy my Queensland mate, Gary Cranitch’s Cane, but Roger Garwood’s Fred And Me…Spectators, Coolgardie, 1975 caught me totally by surprise.  Maybe it was because it was an early work a long ways from what I have come to expect from Roger.  I did bid for it, by the way, as I enjoyed the whimsy of the image.

Works by Doc Ross, from earthquake stricken Christchurch (In The Earthquake Gardens) and Charles McKean (The Family Drawers) were noted as possible contenders for the collection.

Oh the wild dreams of building a fantasy photographic collection from the digital world wide web.


In The Earthquake Gardens; © Doc Ross, Christchurch


The Family Drawers; © Charles McKean

In memoriam


Tony Whincup; © Mike Langford, New Zealand, 2014.

A photographic friend of mine died recently.  It was unexpected in a way that these things sometimes can be.  He lived in another country and whilst I desperately wanted to attend his funeral, it was not possible.


A Teacher Teaching; © Inspire Photography, 2014.

What did happen was a series of photographs started to appear in that thing called social media.  Firstly, a shot of him working amongst photographers taken last year.  It was what he did best, imparting knowledge to others, and there he was doing it in a well-recorded photograph.


Brett Whincup and His Father’s Portrait; © Mike Langford, 2015.

Then I heard that a magnificent portrait of him was on display at the funeral, taken by another talented mutual friend.  This was a portrait that he had not seen, but now we all have because of its importance on that day.  Her photographic portrait created discussion amongst his friends, the mourners.  Almost immediately, social media started to fill with images taken at the ceremony.  Photographs that took me to a place I could not attend, to recognise that he was indeed amongst friends at the end.  All of his friends that I recognised were photographic acquaintances shared, because I did not know his immediate family. Amongst the photographic tributes was a portfolio of shots taken on the day by one of his close friends who had earlier delivered a touching eulogy.  But the portfolio of black and white photographs spoke in emotional words that I fully understood despite my physical absence.


Rhiarn Phillips singing Amazing Grace; © Mike Langford, 2015.

There was a poignant photograph of a young female mourner kneeling beside the coffin whilst singing Amazing Grace.  I was affected as if I had been there in person.


A Final Solo; © Mike Langford, 2015

There was the photograph of a musician friend playing a last solo. There were the young girls from the endangered Pacific island that he had championed for so long doing a graceful dance in front of the mourners.  He had published such photographs in books as part of his academic research, and at the end it was part of his final story. And finally we see that it was a grey, wet, cloudy day.  A day fit for a funeral.  We know these things because a photographer shared his monochromatic documentation of an event I could not attend.


A Day Fit for a Funeral; © Mike Langford, 2015

The story is this, photographs can bring tears to our eyes, can convey a message, explain an event or just quietly tell it precisely how it was.  Whilst some of what I write about today is a documentation of events, there is also another thought at play here.  Are we as photographers doing enough to document and record portraits of those who are important to us? We are photographers – it is what we do best, and surely the onus is upon us to go out and take significant photographs of people important to us and to our profession?  It can be part of our commercial practice or it can be part of what we do to repay our own community, and to society as a whole, with that special skill that we possess. Let’s pay it forward, knowing that one day these portraits will be important, valued, treasured. Who are you photographing tomorrow, and why?


Tony Portrait; © Jackie Ranken, Queenstown NZ, 2014

This essay first appeared in f11 Magazine :: for PHOTOGRAPHERS and AFICIONADOSp144, issue 43, May 2015.

Print Swap at Hair of the Dog


Hilary and Prints; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 2015.

One of the interesting side events at the recently completed Hair of the Dog Convention held by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography in Brisbane was a print swap between participants.

I have known Hilary Wardhaugh for many years through our shared membership of the AIPP and being fellow Judges at the Institute’s award system.

In between dancing the Tango, photographing Federal Members of Parliament and documenting weddings, Hilary runs a successful Canberra based business.

It was nice to add this delightful seascape to my gallery of photographs by photographers – Australian and international.


Beach Game; © Hilary Wardhaugh, 2015

Hilary tells me that it was taken over the Christmas break with an out of date roll of Kodak film.  Ignoring the technical details I am taken by the iconic nature of recording what is essentially a summer activity in this part of the world.  The placement of small figures at the bottom of frame and the unrelenting harshness of the Australian summer sun is recorded with great accuracy.

In return, Hilary received my Central Otago Hut photograph taken in 2013.  This is a genuine favourite of mine and credit must be given to those generous New Zealand photographers, Gilbert van Reenen, Mike Langford and Jackie Ranken who orchestrated the journey to this ancient gold mining region in the South Island of NZ.

The concept of swapping prints amongst fellow photographers is one that I support and have practicised for over twenty-five years.  Not only does it foster a sense of camaraderie, but it also enhances my display wall!


Central Otago Hut; © Ian Poole, 2013


Details about previous Print Swaps include – and





New Landscape, New Camera – Same Old Eyes.


Palmerston Sunrise; © Ian Poole, 2014.

An invitation to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the founding of Queenstown Centre of Creative Photography, and a mate’s birthday is all I need to head off to South Island New Zealand.  QCCP is the home of some of New Zealand’s best photography workshops and run by the talented duo of Jackie Ranken and Mike Langford.


Maniototo Landscape #1; © Ian Poole, 2014

Getting to Queenstown always requires some creative thought over the summer months, and this time a driving trip from Christchurch was in order.  Some driving instructions from Ranfurly based photographer/educator Tony Bridge put me through some new territory offering tempting landscape opportunities.  Thanks Tony.

Additionally I had just taken delivery of a new camera.  Changing cameras AND brands is no small endeavour.  Taking a two week old new camera on a road trip is a bit daunting.  My new Fuji XT-1, and its 56mm lens and I are now going through that early dating process of learning to know what each of us can do.  The photographs illustrating this blog were taken using the built in monochrome conversion and exported as J-pegs.  Some what different from my usual post production technique.  There is a little bit of Nik production as well, but not a lot.

More of the learning curve to come, but now it is time to prepare for Party Time and see in another New Year.  Best Wishes for a fabulous 2015.


Maniototo Landscape #2; © Ian Poole, 2014.



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


Print Swap


The Nevis Tree (or two little ducks); South Island, New Zealand; © Ian Poole, 2013.

Whilst the role of an artist is to create and then sell images, I get a great charge from participating in a print swap.

Provided my print goes to a caring and loving home!


The Nevis Tree; © Peter Eastway

My fairly extensive collection of photographic art has been largely built on judicious swapping with friends and acquaintances, as well as targeted purchases – Max Dupain prints can only come from that source!

This coming weekend I am participating in both a presentation to 200 people and also providing an image to be used in a print swap. The Hair of the Dog is a photography convention that has been held annually for the past 11+ years by the Queensland Division of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography.


Nevis-pano; © Queenstown Centre of Creative Photography

My swap print was taken earlier this year whilst staying with good friends in Queenstown, New Zealand.  It was discovered by Peter Eastway whilst with Mike Langford and Jackie Ranken on one of their many photography tours out of Queenstown.  The tree has also been photographed (amongst many others) by David Paterson – Canberra based photographer and Chair of the Australian Professional Photographer of the Year Awards held by the AIPP.  What is interesting is the different approaches by various shooters.  Eastway chose to find the reverse angle, whilst several of us chose to place the tree in the natural dip in the distant mountains.  Mike and Jackie choosing to lift the tree into the sky and me dropping the tree into the landscape from which it came and blending it more into that environment.  Paterson has allowed the tree to become a recognisable and strong part of the landscape via the use of colour.

With great respect, none is the definitive reproduction of The Nevis Tree, but all are an interesting interpretation by photographers with an interest, a love and a knowledge of recording the landscape.

Nevis Tree - David Paterson

Nevis Tree; © David Paterson