Collection of commercial transparencies, photographic prints, catalogues and magazine advertisements, photography by Henry Talbot, Melbourne, Australia, 1959-1974
This collection of advertising images provides a important visual reference to Australian commercial and fashion photography of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
The Museum's collection encompasses not only fashionable dress, but also means of marketing and desseminating information about fashion over time, from early fashion plates and fashion illustrations through to black and white and colour photographs like those of Henry Talbot. Talbot's fashion photographs were taken both in Australia and overseas. One series was shot in Hong Kong and Asia in 1960, and on another project for the Australian Wool Bureau in Paris, he caught up with two Australian models, Penny Pardey and Judy O'Connell while they were working as house models with Pierre Cardin. Shooting Pardey in a hot pink minidress alongside a scooter and O'Connell in a striped Pierre Cardin mini-coat on the back streets of Paris.
Today, Talbot's smoking advertisements demonstrate how social and commercial attitudes towards smoking has changed dramatically with growing awareness of the public health issues associated with tobacco consumption. (When Henry Talbot himself gave up smoking he also gave up shooting cigarette advertisements.) Some of these early cigarette shots give insight into contemporary attitudes towards women. The smoking advertisments from the late 1950s and early 1960s were taken at a time when there were certain social situations in which it was acceptable for Australian women to be seen smoking. In this way cigarette companies could increased their markets substantially by targeting a wider audience. Talbot's shots for Viscount Cigarette advertisements could be found in popular womens magazines. His shots show attractive young women smoking in different social settings, even on the beach and at the ball. One series for the Australian Women's Weekly features a woman lighting the man's cigarette.
Talbot's car photography demonstrates how different models of cars were also carefully marketed to different target audiences. The car catalogues reveal exactly which market each model was targeting - the Torana catalogue shows a beach scene with young people, while the Holden Brougham shows people in suits and children, clearly aimed at the business man / family consummer.
Henry Talbot is a leading Australian commercial photographer, sharing a studio with Helmut Newton in the 1950s. Talbot influenced a later generation of Australian photographers by lecturing in photography at Preston Institute of Technology, Melbourne.