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?

Fashion In Spite Of The Designers

The heading image is a fantasy – at present. It is the result of a conversation with a friend about the dull colouration of modern motor cars and how much we wish there were more exciting options on the road.

I’m luckier than she is – my green Suzuki is pretty bright, and while it is not exclusive, it is a cheery cut above the grey and black suburban tanks that clog the freeways. My standard joke about the green machine is that it is bright enough to allow people to see me even if I do not see them. Here’s a hint – it ain’t a joke…

She’s got a small white sedan – but a sense of fashion and taste that comes of being a model and a dancer. Her Instagram selfies are always amazing confections and I think that she may be the salvation of many a dress shop in the town. So she thought up some ideas for the Yaris.

I took daylight shots of the car and started to imagine it in different garb. She asked for painted hub caps and roof, and then we went on to a bonnet decoration and colour on the side mirrors. There may also be a business logo on the rear window in time.

I suggested that vinyl wraps would be a good way to try this concept on the body panels – if the idea palled, the vinyl would allow a reversal or replacement without affecting the paintwork. Keeping the divisions to the panel lines aids in this. The hub caps are the simplest thing in the world to paint – any competent panel shop could have them done in a day, and I reckon I could do them myself as easily.

I’ve seen lots of cars that have been done as customs or hot rods, but few that are used as daily drivers – certainly few with interesting paintwork. I do hope that this project goes ahead to see whether some style can come to the street.

Plain Jane…

When I was doing private study for photography…well, to make that a little clearer, when I was teaching myself photography by buying magazines and books and going to art galleries to look at photographs…I encountered some iconic images. We all did – Capa’s work, Steichen’s work, Brady’s work, etc, etc. They were all great and good, and wonderful to look at. Occasionally I found great work that was unpleasant to look at – Penn’ s immaculately rendered cigarette butts and rubbish comes to mind. A lot of the photography of the 70’s as well …and a lot of the horrible images were mine. Fortunately no-one ever saw them and if I can trust my rotten processing of the era, they may disappear.

All this is a preamble to say that there are good subjects and bad subjects, as well as the treatment of them. I have had the great good fortune to be introduced to a very good subject during these last ten years – Jane Hebiton Tassell. Here are some of the images that have been generated.

I say generated, because they are all studio shots. Some in the film era, some in the digital, they all bear three stamps; Elinchrom lighting, my imagination, and the skill of a lovely model. Actually, I must be candid – a lot of them are the imagination of the model. I started out thinking that I had all the ideas but I soon discovered that Jane had ones that were better.

That’s the advantage for photographers of getting the help of a professional model. They have control of their body and features and the theatrical skill to portray what they are asked. And a great deal of humour and patience.

I am grateful.

My Life As An Iconic Superstar – A Modest Proposal



I’m afraid I’ll have to apologise for that header – I’m not really an iconic superstar…I’m more of your international master mentor type. Though I could be a legendary ambassador if the pay was right.

Or alternately, I could take pictures. For a living, if anyone would pay me to…

If this all seems a little mysterious, remember that I work in the photographic trade – in my case as a sales assistant in a pro store in Western Australia. As part of my job I am fed with iconic master ambassador superstar legend mentors who win awards internationally on a daily basis, and sometimes the diet tends to cloy. Add to this the internet and the Thom’s and Ken’s and all the rest. Eventually I need a sit down and a stiff drink.

If this were not enough, I am occasionally tagged as the shop representative to trade displays or camera club nights – in the case of the nights it is as a visiting judge of club competitions. This is an activity with all the appeal of minesweeping – but harder on the nerves. At least when you strike a moored mine it blows up and you get to sink without a trace – make the wrong call on a club competition and the mine takes you to the back of the room and bursts into tears…

This has contributed to something of a sense of cynicism about photography. I am comfortable with this as it does not interfere with my job and sometimes lets me see things more clearly than would otherwise be. For instance:


1. International superstars come from somewhere else and as the local environment is pretty tame, they tend to go back to somewhere else pretty quickly.

2. Award-winning is all very well, but remember that every Soviet Field Marshall had a chest full of awards and none of them would buy a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s.

3. Mentor is a fine word. There was a brand of cigarette called Mentor, and a British training aircraft called a Mentor. Mentor means teacher. Or advisor. Or sticky beak kibbitzer. Someone else’s opinion made manifest…A mentor and 5 cents will buy you a nickel cigar.

4. Legendary means someone has a written document about them. Hell, Willie Sutton was legendary, but I wouldn’t pay him to tell me how to do my banking…Hercules was a legend, and I’ve seen enough Italian movies to know what he’s worth as a photographer.

5. Iconic. Something that is worshipped. The last time I worshipped Something it wasn’t for the purpose of learning how to adjust a digital camera. If the Zeiss company had not sold out to Cosina I might have been tempted to worship an Ikon but even there it has sort of a bad feeling.

6. Master. How many camera makers have a program of Master…why not a program of Mistresses. Now THAT I could take an interest in. 120mm focal length with f:2.8 and fishnet stockings and suspender belts and long black gloves and….oops. Sorry about that. I’ll take the pills now…

7. Ambassador. Now that has something. That means the government has sent me to talk nice to whoever for the purpose of soothing them until the satellite mapping of their military bases is complete. Or to plead for their money to be invested in our country as a way of preventing them from invading us. Or just to get me far enough away from the local press to prevent me telling the truth about the Prime Minister. I think I could handle being an ambassador. If the brandy was right.


The people in the camera clubs are a different proposition. They are cleaner and simpler creatures. They want the judge to like their work and to award it the prize and to crush and to destroy their fellow club members. This is a laudable ambition. It might be nice if they would remember that judges can and should be bribed – and I don’t mean a cup of instant coffee and a Nice biscuit. I mean cash. Pay me and I choose you – leave the flowery art-speak and obfuscation to me as I can grind it out by the hour. You may not make it to the Venice Bianalle but you can at least be King or Queen of the car park for a night.

And that is a good investment.

Note: That is Leanne on top.






The Unseen Glamour Girl – The Gallery Of Beauty

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Our title today may seem somewhat confused – how can you be a glamour girl if you are unseen – how can you be unseen if you are glamorous? Are  the terms incompatible?

Well, anyone who has walked through a shopping mall knows that there are many glamour girls going about who, if not strictly unseen in an optical sense, are certainly unrecognised by anyone else. Some, sadly, are unrecognised by themselves. If you don’t believe me spend some time in your nearest chemist.

It is even sadder if you are the owner of a small photographic studio and you have ambitions of making it a Gallery of Beauty. Even in these times of self-promotion and relentless publicity, the opportunities to show off portraits  and studies of attractive women can be limited. There are too few open exhibitions in a year that deal fairly with the photographer or allow you to show more than one or two images. If you sponsor your own exhibition you have a vast expense in venue hire, time, paper, ink, mounting materials, more mounting materials, lighting, and publicity. If you expect to make money from it, good luck ( And be prepared to lose heavily.) and if you expect to get praise and love from the photographic public, good luck ( And be prepared to be sneered at by expert sneerers.)

Yet there are still so many glamorous girls and ladies out there and so much beauty to capture. Must it always be unseen?

Flickr? Facebook? Static website? Guerilla poster crew and a bucket of glue? What to do? I have decided to try Here All Week and establish a Gallery of Beauty. I hope it will be seen, at least by the ladies who are displayed therein. They can know that they are glamorous and seen.







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If the phrase  ” Gallery of Beauty” seems familiar please remember King Ludwig II of Bavaria – the Neuschwannstein man. He established just such a gallery in the days when photography was limited. Of course, being the king meant that he had court painters who could colour in his fantasies and beauties who were only too eager to be associated with royalty. But he certainly had the right idea. The Hazel leaf Studio isn’t exactly a fairy-tale palace and I doubt if I will be able to make the main shooting space look exactly like Ludwig’s throne room, but with Photoshop and layers and a bit of colour I think we can show just how glorious these ladies are. Yowza.

And as always – thank you for coming, Folks…and try the tuna casserole.