One Of My Better Ones

I have ideas, you see. Well, it’s only to be expected – I’m retired and my mind is not required to worry about other people’s money or health – so I’m free to fret about my own.

But I don’t.

I have long realised that mostly it all proceeds on an even keel if you do not go to excess in anything. I’ve even cut down on my moderation. It’s meant a loss in income for the gin joints and the gals of easy reputation, but on the other hand I can spend the money on toy cars and model airplanes. The lady at the hobby shop is starting to wink at me as she operates the till…

Now back to the idea. I have a collection of model airplanes on model airfields. I know a number of flashy females who dance, pose, and generally glam it up all round the shop. So I have decided to combine the two by making the ladies into WWII ” nose art ” on the airplanes. There’ll be an exhibition in June at the belly dancing convention and then I’ll post the pictures on the toy and model photography pages.

Already I have 8 images completed and I haven’t even started shooting the fresh material – good glamour is ageless and older pictures are just as good as new ones when you make them into posters.

Of course, there are sacrifices. I am now compelled to go to the hobby shop and buy more model kits so as to have enough noses for all the girls. I shall have to spend my waking hours chained to the model bench or the studio shooting for the exhibition. I will only take time out to eat, drink, sleep, and read racy novels.

After all, I have a duty to culture, eh?


Say Mwah! C’est Moi…


Have you ever met an Amazon? Or a chameleon? I have. Right in my studio.

I proposed to make this year’s mini exhibition for our local Middle Eastern Dance conference on the subject of Amazons. I’ve been doing this for years and we’ve had such diverse themes as Art Deco, Notorious Women, and Hot Rod Honeys. Why not Amazons? The call went out and the more adventurous of the sorority responded.

None more so than Sally. The original advertisement gave people the bare bones of the idea and invited the participants to contrive their own version of an Amazon. Some were armed, some were fierce, but no-one was quite as imaginative as Sally. Because she saw herself as Miss Piggy.

Anyone who remembers the Muppet Show knows Miss Piggy – Kermit the Frog’s lady love. She was said to have been patterned after Sally Kellerman or Loretta Swit. Or they may have been patterned after her…I don’t know. I suspect she will be in the public’s eye and affection long after the two actresses anyway – if only for her dress sense and characteristic temper.


I am happy to say that when Miss Piggy visited the Little Studio she was in a good mood. She was dressed in her favourite hot coral number with complementary shoes and gloves. I admired her pearls – apparently she knows an oyster who can get them for her wholesale. The heels looked little precarious but Miss Piggy is a skilled karaticist and never faltered – plus I think that anyone she hit with them would be much the worse for wear.


Well, photographing an international superstar is a glorious experience. And it is a lot easier than you would think. You see, stars like Miss Piggy know how to move – how to pose. They know their best sides and their best features and if you just give them light and space…and a cocktail or eight…they can bring out the whole entertainment experience right before you. All you have to do is press the button and there it is.

Well, you can see how successful it all proved to be. Miss Piggy was able to bring a small amphibian with her as well – I was going to ask how she got him but then I got nervous because she might have told me. And I am not sure I am ready for that sort of revelation. In any event he was a very good little frog and posed very well. I hope she gave him a jar of candied flies and mosquitos later…


Note the last photo. The gentleman is named Tim and I think he is related to Miss Piggy and to the small frog. He has a patient look in his eyes…It will come in handy for the next photo shoot. He doesn’t know it yet, but the Little Studio has plans for him…

Showing Up Instead of Shoving Off


It is sometimes difficult to determine quite what the best course of action is – even the best etiquette books can falter when it comes to personal relationships. You’ll be fine with the instructions about where to place fish knives at a hunt breakfast, but lots of other stuff is a maze.

Today I experimented with attending a trade function for a trade that I am no longer in – with no idea what would happen.

I retired from selling cameras a month and a bit ago. I have maintained a tenuous connection with the former employers in the way of blog writing, but have no desire to throw myself back into shop work for them or for their rivals. Yet today I attended a trade show their rivals mounted – copied from their own efforts in July – and quite enjoyed the experience. As I mentioned in my other blog: – there was not likely to be new gear that I needed to see, but I wanted to see if I could get to touch base with old industry contacts.

This may have been a good thing – several did not know that I had retired nor that I was prepared to continue on writing columns or advertising material or take studio product shots. Or that I could still mention their products in the established blogs. Thank goodness I had my new business cards ready to press on them. They did not blench and faint, so it may have been alright.

Not being in regular employment means I can access more venues and events than before – strict etiquette rules about visiting other shops or asking awkward questions pertained – I am free of that now. And it is surprising what people will tell you when you ask. I guess it is the reason private detectives succeed.

I’ve got a fedora  – I wonder if I should get a trench coat and a roscoe?



Drop That Name…Now!


And don’t let me see you pick it up again, Mister!

I’m not sure if this essay should go into this blog or into its’ sister: The original idea came from a person in the photographic world but it really is applicable to a lot of different walks of life. The idea of the name-dropper.

Ever since people started speaking and then writing we have had the name dropper – the person who uses the light of a famous name to reflect a tawdry glory upon themselves. That glory might just be for illumination – they would be invisible to themselves and others otherwise – or it might be used for commercial and social gain. If you drop the name of the American President you might be able to make people think that you and he are confrères. If you drop the name of his wife you create an entirely different impression….

And here is the problem in a nutshell – tagging yourself with name of the rich/famous/powerful/beautiful/talented is all very well but you run a number of real risks:

  1. People may not believe that you and Barack or Michelle are ” just like that” if you live on a pension in Gosnells and dress in tracky daks from Big W. Even if you go into details about which one is on top.
  2. People may not know who Barack and Michelle are. This is a problem that puzzled the FBI – and they have far better sources of information than the average person.
  3.  People may not appreciate the influence that Barack might have upon your artistic merit or social charm. They may not be able to make the connection between being friends with Michelle and getting an extra 20% discount on a product. They may fail to see why you are privileged.
  4. They may not care. Let’s face it, if God Almighty went in to some places and pulled his wallet out they would still charge Him an extra 2 1/2 percent on American Express. How much less a friend of some personality…
  5. The person you attach your credibility to may come to hear of it and repudiate you.
  6. Not all famous people are good people. Sometimes the shop assistant that you try to dazzle with the name of a famous superstar mentor award-winning iconic legend has seen said legend ratted on cheap red wine at a photography conference and knows just how insecure and loudmouthed they are…It is all very well being the friend of the superstar but if they are a stupidstar…
  7. The worst word you can ever hear after delivering  a name drop  ( and a subsequent demand for discount/preference/adoration ) is ” So “? There are very few convincing “So’s” out there. Even fewer so-and-so’s.

The safest way to drop a name is to drop one that is long-dead. Verifiably dead, too, I might add. No good gassing on about Judge Crater if he turns up behind you in the queue…The English monarchy of the 1700-1800 period is safest. No one can gainsay George II.


Sailing On The Black Ball Line


Today has been interesting. I have had a living history experience that I never thought would come to me – I have been black-balled from joining a closed society.

For those not quite up to the reference – when a gentleman was put up for membership in any of the English clubs of the Georgian and Victorian period there was a vote taken in committee to see whether he was acceptable. There might just be general discussion over port and cigars, or there might be a quasi-social interview with the authoriies. Afterwards a container was put out into which a form of secret vote might be put – a white ball signified acceptance and a black ball rejection. It was a play on classical Greek democratic practise, designed to make the snobbery of the club anonymous.

The exact circumstances for myself involved an application to join a Facebook group. It is a group of some 1500+ people who refer to themselves as Perth Artists Western Australia. Not singers or entertainers or dancers – visual artists. Several of my Facebook friends are there and I was encouraged to apply for membership. It was a little disconcerting to press the ” join ” button and then hear nothing at all…even though the button was pressed several times.

Slightly daunted, I followed the prompts of the Facebook page and eventually emailed one of the administrators of the group to ask the state of affairs. She was kind – she told me that one of the other administrators had blackballed me for being an event photographer. I assume this means the weddings I have photographed or the belly dance shows and the re-enactment events.

As I had mentioned my studio work, she offered to reconsider me. I have pressed the button once more, but am wondering now if I have done the right thing.

A gentleman may make mistakes in his addresses to others. We have all obtruded our opinions in some form when not wanted. Intruded into privacy. Incurred where we should not. But once aware of that breach of manners, he must make amends to the general discipline of society.

Am I now further guilty of a breach of manners in re-applying? One of the 5 or 6 administrators thinks ill of me, and will be needlessly annoyed to see my name on their lists. Causing annoyance to others should be the furthest thing from me – and I should be obtuse in addition to being intrusive in persisting.

Better to withdraw and to pursue my art – eventual or individual as it may be – for my friends and family.




Ever read art criticism? Willingly? If so, you’ve come across the term “derivative”. And it has most often been used to whip some poor soul who has painted or photographed something and then put it out there to be admired.

Fat chance. No work survives first contact with a critic. If the critic is paid for their writing, it will be slaughter by the paragraph until the telephone bill is paid, and if the critic is unpaid, it will be a labour of loathe. Either way the person who did the work will suffer.

Now derivative means something to the art critic but it means something else to me. I like to know where things come from and what they looked like before, and if my pictures look like something that has been seen before, I take off my hat and beam with pleasure. Of course there are natural limits to this – the 65,000,000th picture of Sydney Harbour bridge does not attract me. Neither does the obverse view of the Damnopera House. I am satisfied that these edifices exist without celebrating them in pixel and paint. You can add the various faces of Luna Park to the do-not-care register.

But give me a good looking person who can look good as a person from history and I am all fired up. Thus when Christine said that she would like to pose as Louise Brooks I jumped at the chance. This was still film days so there were a lot of negatives taken – some with large format camera. I did digitise them early one as I knew that I wanted to add extra touches that could never have been done in the darkroom. The initial session proved that she did indeed have the look and we pursued the theme over a number of sessions.

Derivative? I should hope so. My model was as good an actress and the original lady and the images formed pat of the 2008 WAMED picture show. I hope you like them.





Bunz In Your Face

3Now if that didn’t get your attention it is time to check for a pulse…anything there? Okay, on we go.

Chelsea Bunz is the stage name of a good friend of mine – she is a dancer here in Perth and has featured belly dance, snake dancing, and light wing dancing as well as performance work with a number of entertainment troupes. She has accompanied me to the Steam Punk Ball as Baroness von Bunz. She dances regularly at a number of the nightclubs and restaurants.

She has also been a model for my studio for any number of shoots – in costumes as varied as a roll of money, a mermaid tail, and a cowgirl corset. She has appeared in the Goddess shoot as Incendia, Goddess of Chili, wearing strings of papier- maché chili peppers. Fortunately for the Hot Rod Honeys, she has a number of rock and roll costumes that could be put to good use.

When I was searching around for a theme for the 2012 WAMED photographic exhibition at the Bazaar I hit upon the simple idea of taking a survey of some of the past photo shoots for Chelsea and showing some of the best ones. It went over very well and set the tomene fr another model’s retrospective this year. Next year i launch out into something new, but it is almost ready noe…

In the spirit of the exhibition, here are  a few of the images that flashed on the screen accompanied by some rather droll and sleazy music. i hasten to add that Chelsea approved of the tunes and ended up with the CD.

In the future I’ll show you more of Chelsea – including the shoot done with Tallulah the python. This time of year would be the best for photographing Tallulah as it is cold everywhere and she can’t move fast. Pity to take her out of her warm herpetarium, though.50