Pet Photo Booth


Pet Photo Booth Perth Fringe Festival 2013


The Perth Fringe Festival has been all the buzz in the office this morning. Rob’s done the Stoney Joe gig, Shirley recommends the Bogan Bingo, and for the last two weekends I’ve slipped off the commercial hat and have been moonlighting as an artist photographer at Pet Photo Booth. Our studio for the duration, courtesy of ArtRage, was the Spiegeltent, deep in the Urban Orchard. The so-called Third Musketeer of Pet Photo Booth, I’ve been working with Arthos (Justin Spiers) and Porthos (Yvonne Doherty) since my early days as an assistant and I feel privileged to have been invited to take part in this wonderful project as a photographer.


Five days of cats, dogs, chickens, sheep, children, and other animals. Everyone got along in perfect animal harmony, including most of the humans. Bookings were only a couple of minutes apart and we booked out well in advance! I love about working this quickly, being absorbed in the moment and using only the relationship with the subjects and materials at hand to produce creative results. Painted backdrops, delightful people– it’s a dangerous mix of cheese and portraiture, but very hard for it to go wrong.



Pet Photo Booth Perth Fringe Festival 2013


Pet Photo Booth Perth Fringe Festival 2013




Guy Grey Smith

There are just 100 of them, they’re slipcased and they’ve been hand numbered and signed by the illustrious Mr Gaynor himself. And we’re giving one away. Read on winners!

Every West Aussie with a creative bone in their body knows that one of the most potent catalysts for great art is our comparative isolation.   Guy Grey Smith repaired to the then mill town of Pemberton in the 70’s and proceeded to produce some of the most dramatic, evocative and individual Australian paintings made last century.

For GGS enthusiasts it’s been an awfully long wait for a survey of his life’s work. Thirty one years since his death (almost to the day) UWA Press have published “Life Force”, a critical biography authored by curator Andrew Gaynor. Acorn Photo supported the project and photographed the majority of works reproduced.

You can buy it here. However the first person to correctly name the short lived country band that counted Frith and Gaynor among it’s number gets it in the mail. Just mention the band name in your comment. First in best dressed kidz.

Life Force, critical biography of Guy Grey Smith by Andrew Gaynor. Published by UWA PressLife Force, critical biography of Guy Grey Smith by Andrew Gaynor. Published by UWA Press

Helping the Devil

“Devil of a Cookbook” is the brainchild of Tasmanian chef Fiona Hoskin. TBH I don’t know her from Adam. Actually, I would probably know her from that Adam but, ahhhk, don’t distract me… I’m hungry…

Tetsuya's Marinated Lobster Tail with Bread Salad and Avocado SoupDevil of a Cookbook

Many of the recipes are contributions from Thermomix users and demonstrators, taste tested and refined in kitchens across this wide brown land. Tetsuya Wakuda contributed a number of recipes including the sinfully succinct Marinated Lobster Tail with Bread Salad and Avocado Soup (above) (yum).

Thermomix is the insanely great German made hybrid cooker cum blender that’s boggling the minds of foodies all over the damn place. “Devil of a Cookbook” is the latest in a line of their wicked publications. It represents a new direction for them. One could say they turned over a new leaf. Under Becky “high-priestess-of-type” Chilcott’s benediction this title takes Thermomix into “proper” cookbook territory. That means cookbooks that look at home in western suburbs bookshops and kitchens (or eastern ‘burbs, depending which side of the country you hail from).

more tucker than you can poke a stick at

Fundraiser <- there's a big word. Apart from being host to recipes from a diverse bunch of foodies, Thermomix distinguishes itself by using this title to raise some folding for the Devil Island Project. This is NOT a satanic cult people, or a pirate playground. It’s about sorting out the shocking contagious cancer that’s ripping the Tassie Devil population to shreds. Get on board. All proceeds go to the project. Forty bucks, click here. now

Gold plated Turkish Delight anyone?

Real Fuit Jellies

Anna Gare’s first cookbook – “Homemade”

Shooting “Homemade” took ten days at Anna’s joint in Freo. We road tested 97 recipes and can testify to their bold and glorious goodness. Along the way we had to contend with high winds blowing our set over as well as an occasional sense of, well, impending weight gain. Food stylist Ursula Nairn and assistant Michael Ziebarth were apparently subjected to more country music than is allowed under UN conventions on torture. Ursula in return introduced us to swear words we didn’t know existed and created a few on the spot when her existing collection of international curses was found wanting.

Anna’s giant puppy, Leroy, takes the cake (well, pasta) for audacity though; while we were all indoors congratulating ourselves on the Summer Cherry Tomato Pasta test shot an odd little chiming sound floated by on a breeze, turned out to be a resonant pasta bowl clinking as Leroy licked up the last of the sauce!

Leroy takes the cake

Dealing with Fremantle Press was a delight from start to finish. We’re particularly excited by the print quality in the book. We pushed the images in this one pretty hard in terms of contrast and we’re beside ourselves with the crunchy yet smooth result. (Oh, and before you ask… China). It was a rare opportunity to be making final selections whilst on the shoot and in many cases we were able to make close to final adjustments to the image files on set. And of course we were treated to the publisher swinging by with rough layouts as work progressed – all in all a very nice closed loop giving rise to (justified) smugness.

Egg and Bacon Pie and Simple Chicken Casserole with Fennel

Anna’s genius is in evidence in the all the obvious places in her book; the dishes are as delicious as they look. Even though she loves a bold flavour there always seems to room on the palate for the delicate, crisp and piquant. As cooks though we love the recipe presentation. Anna edited the methods down to their concise, tasty bones. Each method sentence starts with a verb, doesn’t sound so revolutionary does it? Sure makes a difference when your kitchen is a’cookin’.

We’re fickle beans in this household, we struggle to settle on a favourite recipe. For sheer spectacularness you gotta give the Leek Tartin with Goat’s Curd & Smashed Olives a whirl.

If you already have “Homemade” share your favourites in the comments. If you don’t have it already – you simply are not living – buy it online at Fremantle Press’s site.

Leek Tarte Tartin with Goat's Curd & Smashed Olives- Moroccan Green Curry - Anna Gare "Homemade"

Dining setting by Adam Cruickshank.

Adam Cruickshank Woodcraft Design

You know we love to post about exotic locations and crazed crocodile fighting maniacs but some of the best stories are right under our noses. Check this – just amazing hand crafted furniture. Adam Cruickshank’s designs are always a real pleasure for us to have in the studio. On his last trip to the ‘smoke he was introduced our new home on Hamersley Road taking pics for his then upcoming exhibition. There are always challenges photographing furniture. The first is actually for Adam, as everything is semi-deconstructed, wrapped up and loaded into a van. Then it’s trucked from Dwellingup up to see us. In the rain. From there one of the main challenges (after getting some of the larger pieces through the door) is resisting photographing every possible angle. Working with shape, form and light is one of the most rewarding aspects of studio based photography. Just watching Adam’s pieces respond as we played with light on the surfaces was fascinating.

I went down to see the sights and society at Adam’s exhibition opening at Square Peg in Fremantle. His catalogue, a nifty little green fold-out piece designed by Judy from Paco, is chock full of supersized postcards. Seeing how our pictures are used out in the real world is (almost) always gratifying.

Go check it out yourself. Adam Cruickshank’s exhibition is on at Squarepeg, 17b Blinco Street, Fremantle until September 9 2012.

Dining setting by Adam Cruickshank.

Adam Cruickshank's groovy mailer

Adam’s groovy mailer

Adam Cruickshank's Exhibition opening at Square Peg August 2012

The opening at Squarepeg

2012 AIA WA Chapter Award Winners

Last night was awards night for the WA Chapter of the AIA. It’s been a few years since I attended but as a lay judge (in the Heritage category) I felt duty bound to show my face. And fill it with entrée, main and dessert of course.

How firmly David Karotkin’s tongue was pushed into his cheek when he said “there will be no losers tonight” remains unknown, however as the disembodied “Price is Right” voice read out the winners for the Public Architecture category it seemed as though everyone would definitely be a winner – 11 gongs in all!

Acorn Photo clients Site Architecture and TAG Architects were among them for Serisier Building and Coady Centre, Mercedes College and Roseworth Primary College and Education Support Centre respectively (below). (respectively).
Serisier Building and Coady Centre, Mercedes College

TAG Architects Roseworth Primary School Stebbing Way Girrawheen

George Temple Poole winner of 2010, Blane Brackenridge’s spaceship chic House in Cottesloe took out the Marshall Clifton Award for Residential Architecture with one of the two commendations going to the elegant pavilion based Wright Feldhusen Eagle Bay house (below and below).

52 Broome St

Eagle Bay Residence by Wright Feldhusen Architects

The Harold Krantz Award for Multiple Residential was landed by Officer Woods Architects for their wonderful medium density development in Stevens Street, Fremantle. Jenny and Trent were kept busy with this, their only entry this year, as it also took out the Walter Greenham Sustainable Architecture Award.

Stevens St Multiple residential, Architect: Officer Woods

58 Stevens St apartment B

CODA’s Women’s Health and Family Services building in Newcastle St and Parry and Rosenthal’s Southern Seawater Desalination Plant both garnered Architecture Awards in the Commercial category. Claremont Quarter by Christou Design Group and Hassell received a commendation for Urban Design.

Women's Health and Family Services

Southern Seawater Desalination Plant  Architect Parry and Rosenthal

Claremont Quarter, Christou Design Group

The judging experience gave me a great insight into how the images we shoot are used and seen by the jury panels. As I mentioned earlier, I was invited by the Institute to be a lay juror this year. First time. The panels are all comprised of three architects and one layperson. This year the Institute introduced a presentation day which is open to the public. Architects speak on their projects and supplement professional shot images with plans and photographs from the construction phase. Over the following weeks site visits are made by the jurors.

Kim Burges originally suggested I join the residential jury, but having photographed almost half the entered projects I felt the conflict of interest issues were too great. Instead I joined Nerida Mourdant, Eamon Broderick and Alex Quinn on the Heritage panel.

9 projects with wildly divergent briefs and budgets made it a reasonably tough job. The ultimate winner of the Margaret Pit Morison Award for Heritage went to Donaldson and Warn for their careful restoration and upgrade of the Marsala House, a spectacular 70’s listed house designed by Iwan Iwanoff. An Architecture Award and Commendation went to Griffiths Architects and Bernard Seeber Pty Ltd for Cathedral House and Fremantle Railway Station. None of these were photographed by me so no pics here retro fiends!

John Hyde MLA

We recently spent an delightful afternoon photographing John Hyde in and around his electorate. John’s been representing for the people of Perth in WA’s house on the hill for over a decade now. Inner urban isn’t what it used to be  – John’s seat takes in the CBD as well as the rapidly changing residential areas from East Perth to Mount Hawthorn. Kings Park too. John Hyde MLA, Member for Perth
Photography of political candidates has long been a very conservative affair involving the application of far too much hairspray and far too little reality. Art director Ray van Kempen was after a fresh look that emphasised John’s intimate knowledge of the electorate as well as his active engagement with its denizens. Armed with a small retinue of extras and stylist Liz Carberry we confounded the baristas and bus drivers of Beaufort Street before wrapping at James Street with a twilight city backdrop. As John noted Perth turned on its best for us.
John Hyde MLA, Member for PerthJohn Hyde MLA, Member for Perth

Café Corporate cawfee packaging

Geoff (not his real name*) from Dessein Graphics had been using stock photography for their award winning coffee packaging work. He wanted to take the client to the next level though, yep, commissioned retro photography.

On the face of it this was a great little shoot; Café Corporate had four fresh new blends of the hard stuff and they needed to shift units. Their clients are big business’s food and beverage purchasing officers, demanding buyers. Geoff cooked up a look, well he called it a “strategy”, whereby each of the blends would march forth under the banner of a workplace character of yesteryear. We’d shoot the characters in an appropriate location with old things scattered about, retro props and suchlike. Sounds sweet huh?

“So, Geoff,” says I “what’s the plan on the talent front?” Geoff says the client, his sister and his daughter are going to be the talent. What is the sound of a sinking heart? Can you just play that in your head right now? Bloody hell Geoff.

I wouldn’t have bothered telling this story if it didn’t have a happy ending. Tony, Jess and Annie, yes the actual real life boss of Café Corporate, his daughter and his sister are some of the best talent I’ve worked with, professional or non. One drizzly day last spring we all got ourselves off to our retro location (Associated Shopfitters’ recently vacated 70’s offices in Malaga) and in a disturbingly short period of time walked away with great performances in the roles of The Boss, The Secretary and The Tea Lady. I never really understood where The Captain fit into the scheme. I guess Tony’s lifelong passion for tall ships and the docks got the better of him.

* actually Geoff is his real name, I couldn’t resist though…

Café Corporate packaging by Dessein Graphics
Café Corporate coffee packaging by Dessein Graphics
Café Corporate packaging by Dessein Graphics
Café Corporate packaging by Dessein Graphics
Café Corporate packaging by Dessein Graphics

Characters of the Kimberley

Five days in WA’s beautiful north west photographing four people for a character based tourism campaign – what could possibly go wrong?
Here’s a clue. Cyclone. Lua.

Day one went OK. If you don’t count the loss of a bag of light stands and a tripod. Claire the Client picked me up at the airport and drove us to Derby to photograph Donny Woolagoodja, a local elder and custodian of cave paintings. Leaden skies were of mild concern but all of the work with Donny was to be shot indoors at Mowanjum Arts. I suppose one should be grateful that Qantas managed to lose only the light stands and not the lights or camera, still, borrowing packaging tape to stick lights to pieces of furniture and a step ladder was an inauspicious start. The heavy rain that fell during the entire trip back to Broome was a welcome break for the people of the Kimberley and it was sure to abate soon. Never rains for long up there. We tried not to talk about it too much.

Donny Woolagoodja

Donny Woolagoodja

Day Two. Claire the Client arrived at the accommodation with her car, not the hired 4WD she’d planned to make the trip to Cygnet Bay in originally. We’re going to fly there instead, been a bit of rain, road could be impassable, weather OK at Cygnet Bay. No worries. Off we go in the Cessna. Flying very low. Leaden sky. It isn’t raining but the pilot wants to fly below the cloud so he can see where he’s going. The cloud base is 500 feet. That’s quite low.
When we got to Cygnet Bay we landed at an airstrip 20km from the destination, Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm. There’s another airstrip closer but it’s smaller and could easily get washed out. It didn’t rain until a few minutes after we landed and then only lightly.
Paula from Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm picked us up and said that the cloud will likely lift soon. I guess she’s right because it rained a little harder, it’s as if the clouds were trying to spit something out so they could finish up and move along. After we’ve driven down a muddy road for a while we wind up at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm where we meet our second character, James Brown. Everyone agrees that it will clear up within the hour, it never rains for long in this neck of the woods. James hands round some raincoats and everyone takes their shoes off.

Claire the Client starts asking me hard questions about the clouds and Kimberley landscapes and photographs. Kimberley landscapes are traditionally depicted under blue skies. Sometimes there are Disneyesque clouds lurking a long way off. I tell Claire that the seascape backgounds we’re planning to use for James’ portraits will look good under cloud, you know, they’ll have a pearlescent quality. We chat about various tourism agencies’ cloud policies. All we need is for the rain to stop. No worries there as we’ve got all day and it never rains for much more than an hour up here.

James took Claire and I for a tour of the bay in a novel craft called Sealegs. We’re going to see where we’ll shoot when the rains stops. It’s actually a bit hard to see very far through the rain but James describes some of the features we would see if it was a bit clearer. When the Sealegs is going fast the rain stings our faces.
Back on shore we stand around and watch people going about their pearl farm business in the rain and mud. After a while our pilot lets us know that Cyclone Lua is heading for the coast south of Broome and that if we don’t head back now we might have to stay for two or three days. We go back to Broome. Flying back we pass over the coast. So much land is washing into the ocean that great sections of turquoise ocean are being stained red. I return to Perth and the good citizens of Broome batten the hatches for the cyclone which is due to hit on St. Patrick’s Day. The good citizens of Cygnet Bay count more than a few Irish among their number. It’s incredible what they’ll brave for a pint of Guinness and a spot of fiddle playing. They made it to Broome, but sadly the fiddler (who, by a strange co-incidence is my sister) was stranded in Perth.

Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm owner James Brown with his sons Dean and Shea at Shell Island

James Brown with his son Dean at Shell Island

The images have been used at the core of a major web campaign and competition by Australia’s North West, the regional tourism organisation for the Kimberley and North Pilbara. Only half the story has been told but being ever mindful of your desperate need, dear reader, to get your nose back in touch with the grindstone we’ll draw the curtains on this episode. If you’d like the juice on the Kimberley sunny side up let me know in the comments. There are still stories to tell – what was in Hairy Dog’s esky? How delighted were we to sit around a campfire in 40° heat?

Larissa White , El Questro Station tour guide

Larissa White , El Questro Station tour guide

Greg "Hairy Dog" Harman fishing on the Ord River

Greg "Hairy Dog" Harman fishing on the Ord River

We’re moving

Our little patch of Townshend Road, Subiaco, has seen a lot of changes since the mid nineties when we set up shop there. In fact a quick audit of the area between Hay St and Subi Oval has us as the oldest business. True fact.

Anyways, we’re gorn. We’re leaving East Subi for the gentle vibe of West Subi. We’ve heard tell that, with favourable winds, you can hear the breakers at North Cott on a Sunday. Importantly we’ll still be within coo-ee of Jean Claude Patisserie and we’ll be closer to a train station (Daglish) as well as a pile of our mates.

From June 1st 2012 you’ll find us at 298 Hamersley Road. Subiaco.
Melbourne skyline at night with blurred squiggles