Photographic prints (98), mounted blow-ups, black and white (98) and colour (1), photographs by Bruno Benini and Norman Ikin (2), Italy and Melbourne and other locations in Victoria, Australia, 1955-1988
Born in Italy, Bruno Benini migrated to Australia with his parents in 1935, and established a career as a photographer during the 1950s. Along with Wolfgang Sievers, Mark Strizic, Henry Talbot, Helmut Newton and David Mist, he became one of a group of influential emigre commercial photographers working in post-war Australia. The Museum acquired his photographic archive in early 2009, and this series of vintage photographic prints form a core component of that archive.
The series includes personal and experimental photographs, like the shot of the man feeding the pigeons in Sienna, but it also includes photographic portraits of Australian and visiting actors, artists, dancers, designers and singers who popped into Bruno Benini's studio to have their portraits taken (eg portraits of Mirka Mora, Ron Fraser, etc). There are numerous portraits, including nude portraits of black dancers.
Fashion shots representive of Benini's close involvement with Australian, and in particular Melbourne, fashion and dress manufacturers and retailers are represented, together with photographic prints documenting international fashion labels launched onto the Australian market - like Laura Ashley from England, Fiorucchi from Italy.
The series forms part of over 200 large format photographic prints (vintage and more recent prints) in the archive. It also relates to the other series or components of the collection - the smaller reference prints, the thousands of colour transparencies and black and white negatives, and the biographical material including tear sheets, awards, magazine and newspaper cuttings etc dating from the 1950s through to the photographer's death in 2001.
Printed by Bruno and collected by Bruno and his wife Hazel Benini, some of the prints record Hazel and Bruno's working lives together - Bruno as a commercial and fashion photographer, Hazel as a fashion publicist, display stylist and advertising and marketing consultant. Many Australian fashion models, drawn to Melbourne because of it's lively fashion scene in the post-WWI decades, appear in the photographs including Janice Wakely, Jackie Holme, Helen Homewood and many others.
Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator.
Norman Ikin, a close friend of Bruno's took two of the photographs - portraits of Matcham Skipper's son.
Bruno Benini photographer with Hazel Benini working as a fashion stylist on several of the fashion photographs.
This objects are part of the Bruno Benini photography archive which was acquired by the Powerhouse Museum with the assistance of the Australian Government's National Cultural Heritage Account in 2009.
If Bruno Benini particularly liked a shot, he would make a print or as Hazel Benini recalled 'create a blow-up and then put it up on his studio wall'. The walls of the studio foyer were covered with these, mostly 20 x 24 inch, prints. Some of the prints were damaged over the years and thrown out, however many remain, with corner pin holes intact. These are those prints.
The Benini archive contains photographs showing how the prints were displayed.