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Benini archive acquired with funding assistance from the Commonwealth Government through the National Cultural Heritage Account in 2009.

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Creating the look: Benini and fashion photography explored the creative processes involved in styling, crafting and designing iconic fashion photographs.

Drawing on the archive of Australian fashion photographer Bruno Benini, the exhibition featured vintage and recent photographic prints, colour transparencies, black-and-white negatives, contact and proof prints with original crop marks, newspaper clippings and other biographical material.

Creating the look unpicked the ideas, props, backdrops, tricks and technical devices used by Bruno Benini and his wife stylist Hazel Benini from the 1950s through to 2000. Together, the couple produced some of Australia’s most memorable and elegant fashion images by combining careful styling with elegant design.

The Beninis’ images provided a snapshot of the evolution of fashion and photography in Australia over forty years, as well as documenting Australian and international fashion and fashion accessories.

Visitors discovered how designers, models, make-up artists, hair stylists, fashion editors, props and locations all work together to produce the shot. Audio snippets from Hazel Benini and Beninis’ assistants and collaborators including former leading Australian models like Jan Stewart, Janice Wakely and others, bring the photographs to life.

The exhibition also revealed how Benini’s traditional fashion photography techniques are being interpreted in innovative new ways by a contemporary generation of photographers and stylists.

Four contemporary case studies explored – work by Australian fashion photographer Juli Balla; styling by Edward Coutts Davidson; the urban street fashion photographs of Fernando Frisoni; and a selection of directional new Australian fashion film and video for online media portals. 

These contemporary fashion photographers are increasingly inventive in generating inspirational and attention-grabbing visual scenarios, and selecting surprising and unlikely locations, poses and juxtapositions.

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Creating the look: Benini and fashion photography

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