Archive for the ‘Recent Work’ Category

Black Swan 2016 Season Programme Shoot

Every year there’s one phone call we look forward just about more than any other – it’s the call from Geoff at Dessein Graphics asking us if we’d like to get our teeth into the Black Swan State Theatre Company’s upcoming programme. Hell yeah.

Production of the 2016 season programme marks the 5th year of our partnership with BSSTC. This is a project that is filled with creative challenges and collaboration. And rewards; Dessein have taken out a number of international awards for Black Swan programmes and posters from 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Due to constraints around booking actors for lead roles and a tight publication schedule it’s all done in a super short timeframe.

A major contributor to the incredible success of the Black Swan publicity has been the visual cohesion. And therein lies the greatest challenge; each year the first conversations around this work are focussed on developing a theme that will run easily through comedy, tragedy and even musical theatre. For 2016’s programme we worked with the idea of shadows expressing some subtext from the each play. Having produced the past couple of years’ shots in studio we swung back to location photography. With 2016 seeing Black Swan celebrate their 25th year on stage we thought it appropriate to set the shots in the theatre. Each image features a behind the scenes backdrop from their new home – the State Theatre Centre.

Angels In America poster for Black Swan State Theatre Company, design by Dessein
Picnic at Hanging Rock poster for Black Swan State Theatre Company, design by Dessein

Clinton The Musical poster for Black Swan State Theatre Company, design by Dessein
Moliere's Tartuffe The Hypocrite poster for Black Swan State Theatre Company, design by Dessein
A Perfect Specimen poster for Black Swan State Theatre Company, design by Dessein
Black Swan - group portrait of the entire company

Black Swan 2014 Programme

Peter Rowsthorn

It’s been four years, a long term relationship in this biz, and we feel dead cosy working as part of WA’s crack black ops theatre promotion team. Geoff and Esther of Dessein go in hard on behalf of design cred, Nancy and Kate from Black Swan State Theatre Company provide the best support and occasional loud “hurrahs!”

Last Monday the ‘Swan launched their 2014 programme. Next year will see Ben Elton, old Bill Shakespeare, Checkov and Tennessee Williams rub shoulders with (comparatively) new talent Chris Isaacs and fresh work from Aidan Fennessy.

Programme photography never begins until casting is over, and as a consequence, the shoots take place back to back; in most cases we shoot two plays to a day. The leads in the plays are a mix of new talent and faces familiar to anyone who hasn’t had their head under a rock for the past thirty years. Peter Rowsthorn (Brett of Kath and Kim fame) was first cab off the rank this year, yanking his amzingingly mobile features into line as the complex Max Prince character in Neil Simon’s “Laughter on the 23rd Floor”.

Hot on Peter’s heels was Sigrid Thornton, switching rapidly between her chatty, cheery self and the intense, anxious Blanche Dubois of “Streetcar”.

Black Swan State Theatre Co

The bulk of the posters were concepted around the idea of magazine covers with bold colourful backgrounds. They were all shot on colours as close as possible to the finished poster to minimise mucking about in post with awkward chroma casts in hair and shadows. This approach also makes it much easier for all involved in the shoot to visualise the finished result. Don’t we all get sick of explaining that “it will look different when the retoucher is done with it, a lot different”? Ultimately shooting on the right colour speeds the whole gig up immensely. Authenticity baby, it’s what we’re about.

The two studio plays, “Flood” and “The House on the Lake”, presented the biggest challenges, one calling for a partially submerged actress and the other a man wreathed in smoke. Adriane Daff drew the short straw for mid winter submersible duties in our indoor pool facility. Stylist Rachel Ciccarelli, makeup artists Jo Buswell and Virginia Hawdon, put their all into the transformation of actors into characters and Kailis Pearls did the jewellery honours for Streetcar.


2013 AIA Award Winners

With Rob off on holidays, I ventured out to the WA Chapter of the AIA last night to fulfil my duty to photography, architecture (and champagne) at Perth Concert Hall. My first ever AIA awards night gave me a sense of the full scale of projects happening across WA, as well as a great insight how the images we shoot are presented.

Public architecture had a total of seven awards. Bateman Architects, Christou Design Group, and Parry and Rosenthal all received commendations for Dongara District High School, Guildford Grammar Catalyst Building, and the All Saints Performing Arts Theatre respectively.


Guildford Grammar School, Architect: Christou Design Group

Dongara District High SchoolBateman Architects

All Saints College Centre for Performing Arts


Parry and Rosenthal’s PAC (above& below) and Taylor Robinson’s Merrywell (below) at Crown Casino both garnered Architecture Awards in the Interior category.


All Saints College Centre for Performing Arts

The Merrywell at Crown Perth, Taylor Robinson Architects

The Merrywell at Crown Perth,Taylor Robinson Architects


T&Z Architects received a commendation in the Colorbond Award in Steel Architecture for their steel and glass screen structure at ECU’s Joondalup campus.


Edith Cowan University rain screen T&Z Architects


Kerry Hill’s Campbell House took out the Marshall Clifton Award for Residential Architecture and two of the commendations were awarded to David Barr and Ross Brewin’s Suburban Beach House and Optimum Resource Architects’ Dress Circle Residence.


Beach Road house by David Barr and Ross Brewin

A Suburban Beach House, Architect: David Barr & Ross Brewin

Yallingup Residence Optimum Resource Architects


Jonathan Lake Architects won the Peter Overman Award for Residential Architecture -Alterations & Additions for their Fremantle Additions project and went on to take an Architecture Award in Small Project Architecture. Pendal and Neille received an Architecture Award in the Alternations & Additions category for their Claremont House.


Hampton Road House, Architect: Jonathan Lake Architects

Davies Road house. Pendal and Neille


The Harold Krantz Award for Multiple Residential went to Formworks Architecture for a project we’ve really enjoyed photographing; Lime Street development in East Perth.


Kevin Fleming St Bartholomew's  Formworks Architects

St Bartholomew’s  Lime St accommodation

St Bartholomew’s  Lime St accommodation


ARM Architecture & Cameron Chisholm Nicol ultimately took the night with the 2013 George Temple Pool Award for Perth Arena – four awards total, including the Jeffrey Howlett Award for Public Architecture, the Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture, and an Architecture Award in the Interior Category.

For a whole collection of pics of the Perth Arena, check out our April post. All and all, it was a delightful evening. You definitely can expect to see me there next year!


Perth Arena

If part of the function of Perth Arena’s freak yachting accident exterior is to excite public debate it must be judged a success. Like an in-your-face youth with unresolved childhood issues and a new tattoo, its lumbering slab sides are confrontational and immediately polarising. Perhaps as the landscape around it changes over the next decade it will stop trying to pick a fight with its mates.

By comparison the interior is its heart of gold; the voluminous access spaces that wrap around the arena proper soar with religious delight, broad stairways turn at angles that pull you forward and the sea of timber panelling that lines the walls and ceilings in contrasting regal blues and rich warm woodiness cosset and inspire.

We spent the better part of a day being inspired with Stylewoods director Alan Carter. Alan spent the better part of last year down there overseeing the manufacture and installation of the interior panelling.

Perth Arena interior panelling by Stylewoods

Perth Arena interior by Stylewoods

Perth Arena interior by Stylewoods

Meanwhile, outdoors…
“Totem”, is the name of the tall, yellow, multi-faceted sculpture on the east side of the arena. For some reason it’s been nick-named “The Pineapple”, can’t think why… Anyway, we photographed that for artist Geoffrey Drake-Brockman. I’ve cribbed this from his website ’cause I was struggling to describe it – “Totem is an interactive spatial robot. It has 108 reconfigurable petals and is able to react to pedestrian movement. Totem incorporates a laser projection artwork titled “Translight” that projects nightly onto the Eastern wall.”

Totem by Geoffrey Drake Brockman Totem is an interactive spatial robot. It has 108 reconfigurable petals and is able to react to pedestrian movement. Totem incorporates a laser projection artwork titled "Translight" that projects nightly onto the Eastern

Totem by Geoffrey Drake Brockman Totem is an interactive spatial robot. It has 108 reconfigurable petals and is able to react to pedestrian movement. Totem incorporates a laser projection artwork titled "Translight" that projects nightly onto the Eastern


Geoffrey scurries inside – yes there’s an inside!

San Cisco in Treadlie Magazine

Fellow pilots of human powered vehicles in Australia will have noticed that until a couple of years ago our newsstands catered only to the mountain bikers and two wheeled race fans. Treadlie is the bike mag for the rest of us; commuters, e-bikers, weekend cruisers, polo nuts and, it would seem, a surprisingly large proportion of the Oz music scene.

Treadlie commissioned Acorn to shoot half of Freo sensation San Cisco for issue 10. (Which is on the aforesaid newsstands as we speak.)
Eschewing the usual street scene / café for something with a bit more local colour we convened at Freo’s North Mole with it’s “port” lighthouse providing essential seaside authenticity. KP drove the camera car, Josh and Nick shredded skinny rubber, Rob pressed the shiny black button and kept stuff vaguely in focus, soft skylight by your chosen deity.

Here’s how it looked in the mag, there’s how it looked before the gutter hit the lighthouse, down below are some out-takes. Stay safe.

Treadlie Magazine San Cisco story

San Cisco-an's Josh Biondillo and Nick Gardner riding Noth Mole

San Cisco-ans Josh Biondillo and Nick Gardner riding Noth Mole

San Cisco outtake

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

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