Making Pig Products more Personable

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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! 

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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!

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KR Darling Downs III; © Ian Poole, 1980

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

You may also enjoy
– https://poolefoto.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/ghosts-from-christmas-past/
https://poolefoto.wordpress.com/tag/cassells-fashion-brisbane/

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!


 

Decisions

My long ‘to-do’ list of photographic chores has been a subject of great contemplation and some inner turmoil.  There are entries to be finalised for a couple of professional awards programs which I am keen to enter; several folders of work created on a month-long trip away from home still to refine; a portfolio of personal work for a submission

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Vintage Negative Collection; © Ian Poole, State Library Queensland, 2016.

and a vast archive of my life’s work of negatives that I am slowly archiving into the Queensland State Library data-base.  In spite of my well-documented history of procrastination I felt that it was time to take a more positive and proactive approach to this lethargy and work towards some quick but nonetheless worthwhile solutions.

The competition award entries were tackled first.  I am more than aware that my role in both of these events is clearly defined within the role of an assessor and as one of the judges.

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Hong Kong Monsoon; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 2016.

But in that role it is equally important that I am seen to be entering and supporting the organisations involved.  Besides which, like many creative sorts, I also have an ego that needs to be stroked and maintained!

Some years ago I was given a format that I have now adopted.  This is based on the firm premise that I am not in competition with any of the other entrants.  Instead, I endeavor to compete against my own performance from last year.  The peer assessment manner in which these awards are judged ensures that my standard is not limited by my own inadequacies.  It meant of course, that when I failed to achieve silver awards with any my entries a couple of years ago I had a period of serious soul searching to endure. I soon realised that my best for that year was just not up to scratch.  It was of a professional standard, but it was clearly not award worthy.  Whilst I am comfortable with the strong and consistent possibility that I may never stand at the podium receiving trophies and accolades, I am also conscious that I want my entries to be of a standard that enables me to confidently and comfortably feel able to construcively criticise the work of other entrants.  For the record, and as is the case for all judges, I am never in the position of judging my own work, this does not happen with well organised and scrupulously managed awards programs.

So the first edit has been made and some test prints nailed to the wall so that I can live with them for a little while.  This is a great way to assess if I am bored with my own work – a sure sign that other judges may come to that conclusion much faster than me.

Several folders of a couple of thousand files have now been sorted in a rough edit to find a collection of photographs that may be useful as award entries, or suitable for the personal project I am working on.  This is followed by a longer period agonising over those thus sorted.  Doing this over several sessions means that I have time to contemplate my choices.  I also have access to one or two trusted and highly valuable mentors with whom I can share a few of the more difficult choices.

The personal project continues with a similar approach to that of finding award images.  A steady process of post-production followed by either elimination or acceptance of photographs worthy of the presentation I wish to make in the next few months.

Then comes the sorting of my entire professional life’s output of negatives and transparencies.  This is a job that has a certain amount of tedium that comes from peering at the results of some fairly banal commercial assignments, then followed by happy trips down memory lane as I re-discover other, long forgotten but far more interesting assignments.  Of course the recurring theme of rampant sexism in some of the photographs was just a by-product of the ‘anything goes’ 1970s.

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612 ABC Radio; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 1976. (courtesy of John Oxley Library historical collection)

I do now wonder why it seemed necessary to have so many girls in bikinis draped over washing machines or gas stoves.  In my defence, all I can say is that, at the time, it was entirely at the direction of various art directors at whose pleasure I served.

It is possible that your own ‘to-do’ list could be similarly reduced or tackled with a clear cut analysis of what needs to be done, and a rational approach to sorting the tasks slowly and steadily.  My list, made a couple of weeks ago, is now under control.

Though I must admit that it did take a few sleepless nights to work out precisely how to achieve all of this within a tight time frame.


Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 10.51.51 AMThis essay first appeared in f11 Magazine :: for PHOTOGRAPHERS and AFICIONADOS, p154, issue 55 :: June, 2016.

 

 

Sabcar – a Brisbane Model Agency

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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:

 


 

 

White Gloves Day at the Library

Doug-Spowart

Dianne Byrne explaining details of the Max Dupain images; © Doug Spowart 2013.

One of the undiscovered treasures in my town is the John Oxley Library of the State Library of Queensland.  Yesterday members of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) had a wonderful and interesting excursion behind the scenes, and we were able to not only view some rare treasures, but actually pick up and closely view some of the photographs in the collection (using white gloves of course!).

Dianne Byrne (Curator Original Materials) and her Manager, Gavin Bannerman, were generous with their time and expertise.  Not only did Dianne extract images, albums and negatives from their Collection, but also arranged for our party to inspect the conservation area and the collections sorting areas.  These spaces were a rare opportunity to go “behind the scenes” and be briefed on the activities there.  The Library has a history stretching back to 1896, and is the repository, amongst many other items, of historic photographs and photographic material pertaining to Queensland.

Globe Hotel, Toowoomba 1946 – Max Dupain; courtesy of John Oxley Library.

Ian-Poole

William Jolly Bridge, Rose Simmons; courtesy John Oxley Library.

Of particular interest was a series of images by the great Sydney based photographer, Max Dupain (1911-92), who had been commissioned at various times to document many areas of Queensland.  The Library has a number of images, printed personally by Dupain, of the Toowoomba and Brisbane areas.  We also viewed images by Richard Daintree (1832-78) being conserved by the Library’s skilled team.  Daintree was not only Queensland’s first official geologist, but a photographer of some note, and his record of far north Queensland is a valuable visual reportage of this territory.  Some gentle landscapes by Rose Simmons were shown, as well as the original glass mounted projection images used by Romeo Lahey M.B.E, (1887 – 1968) in his lobbying to create the National Park system that we now enjoy in Queensland.

Our visit was aided by the technical knowledge of Dr Doug Spowart and Gary Cranitch (Photographer – Queensland Museum), who were able to comment with information gained from previous research.  From my point of view it was satisfying to see my donation of a life’s commercial photography work starting to be unbundled prior to the cataloguing process prior to being placed into the collection.

Doug-Spowart

AIPP Members viewing John Oxley material; © Doug Spowart, 2013.

Bille Brown AM

Bille Brown AM; 1952-2013

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Bille Brown AM, in the role of Falstaff.

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Falstaff addresses the audience from the front stairs of a Queenslander home.

The recent passing of Queensland born (Biloela) actor Bille Brown AM, brought with it a request from the Queensland Theatre Company seeking a photograph from the Geoffrey Rush directed 1987 production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.  Rush had innovatively reset the Shakespearean into the post-war Brisbane suburb of Windsor.  The production was staged on an outdoor stage in Brisbane’s Albert Park and featured Brown in the role of Falstaff and included iconic references to XXXX beer and Brisbane trams (we still had them then).

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Note the XXXX beer sign in the stage set.

As the Company photographer for the period 1981-91, I had a fairly accurate register of productions covered and their subsequent negatives; and was able to supply at short notice a print for the Brown Memorial Service.  This caused me to research some of the other shots taken at that particular performance.  Remember this was a time of analogue film and required the use of Kodak T-Max 400 film pushed from 400 to 800 ISO.  I had moved from the staple of Tri-X to its newer brother T-Max.  This film was developed in a JOBO motorized film processor – I had (have) a short attention span and could not be relied on to maintain a consistent regime of agitation.  Thank you JOBO!  The constraints of stage lit theatre was balanced by the freedom of finding shooting positions on the bank of the amphitheater surround the

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An iconic Brisbane tram.

outdoor stage.  In those days the bulk of the photographs were taken during the final dress rehearsal and following a hectic night of processing and printing, a set of 10×8” and 16×20” prints were delivered to the theatre company by 10:00am the next morning for press and foyer display

use. Usually without the interference or art direction of the client – such was the haste to get images made.  This was both a joy and a curse, as the post-production critique sometimes happened long after the rush of the rehearsal was over……

The negatives from this and other productions, indeed my entire commercial negative stock now reside in the John Oxley historical library – part of the State Library of Queensland.  Another story for another day.