photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
One of Australia’s former leading models, Jan Stewart, recently visited the Museum to share recollections about working with Bruno and Hazel Benini in the 1960s for the forthcoming Creating the look: Benini and fashion photography exhibition (opens 31 July 2010). One day in 1966, Bruno and Hazel asked Jan to climb onto a huge metal crane hook, to hold on tight as the crane hook was incrementally lifted higher and higher so Bruno Benini could ensure the model, the crane and building behind were perfectly framed in the camera lens. “What could you do” noted Hazel, “you’d go to any length to get the look.” Jan tells the story from a different, ‘less grounded’ (forgive the pun) perspective:
Bruno, Hazel & myself set out walking down the streets of Melbourne, Little Collins St. until he found this building site & suddenly he went “Haa” – typical Bruno style “this is it” – as you can see in the ad it says something about heights (Sportsgirl’s high flying dress …’) so he talked to the workmen, down we went in through all the mud & off we went. Bruno said “just put your foot on the crane – just go up a little bit”. “Yes OK Bruno!” “Now do this – do that” – as you can see by the photos we started off quite low – maybe 6 or 8 ft, and he said to them “let’s go a bit higher .. a bit higher..” and as you can see by the buildings behind, first of all I was focused in the centre & then I was way above it, hanging on like grim death and Bruno began to go mad clicking all these shots “do this .. do that .. stick one leg out..” “How do I balance Bruno? It’s terrifying… I’m going to lose the bag… what if I fall?”. That’s how it all came about.
These photographs are from the Bruno Benini photography archive acquired by the Powerhouse Museum with funding assistance from the Australian Government’s National Cultural Heritage Account in 2009. The photograph was taken to promote a Leroy dress of ribbon knit bonded Arnel fabric, available through Sportsgirl shops in 1966.
Post by Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator (with thanks to Jan Stewart, Hazel Benini and Rebecca Bower).
© Estate of Bruno Benini.