After 50 years

Talbot-C1966             Henry Talbot, fashion illustration for Bri-Nylon and Fibremakers, 1967

I’ve just realized that my photographic career is now 50 years old.

I date the start of this saga from a workshop I attended in the Lower Melbourne Town Hall in 1966. The esteemed fashion photographer Henry Talbot was giving a demonstration with the elegant Georgia Gold, a well-known model. Lights, camera and white background were all set up and Talbot gave a run-through explaining what was involved in this then very trendy genre. It was the year of Antonioni’s movie Blow Up, a worldwide hit that made inner-urban fashion studios very very cool.

I think I spoke to Talbot, and I hope to Georgia Gold, who were both very approachable. I was 16 and I even remember waiting for the bus that day, thinking I was pretty grownup. So here’s a thought: what would that boy think if he knew he would still be in the game a half-century later?

That distant memory was stirred up by a visit to the excellent NGV show Henry Talbot : 1960s Fashion Photographer. The show is a must for photographers who a) love fashion photography or b) love analogue photography. The gallery is laid out with wall prints but the special attraction is the tables with his contact proof sheets. It’s a very original approach to curating commercial art, focussing on the working process as much as the finished product.

The show closes tomorrow, Sunday August 21 at the NGV-Australian at Federation Square. Soak it up while you can. Meanwhile, have a look at the very useful E-book the NGV has on its website.

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