Born Heinz Tichauer in Germany, Henry Talbot as a Jew had to escape the Nazis by fleeing in 1939 to England, where he was interned and later shipped to Australia on the now infamous voyage of the Dunera. Talbot later served in the Australian army until the war’s end. While visiting his parents in Bolivia after the war, Talbot revived his pre-war interest in photography. He returned to Australia in 1950 and worked as a photographer; in 1956, he set up a joint studio specialising in fashion and advertising in Melbourne with fellow Dunera internee Helmut Newton. By 1958, Talbot was named fashion photographer of the year by Australian Photo News, while Newton had established himself in Europe.
Talbot revelled in the high times and youth culture of the 1960s, when fashion was aimed at young people and sought a ‘funky’ look. For an assignment for Fibremakers Australia, Talbot photographed Jackie Hulme, one of the models who was the new face of the 1960s, against a backdrop of the radio telescope at Parkes, New South Wales. She is the new 1960s woman, always on the move. Talbot’s description of his approach to a shoot expresses the free wheeling times:
I’m not one of those machine-gun shooters, you know. I would always set up a mirror beside me and the lady would move, watching herself. When the moment hit, I would take the shot. It would always depend on the model, that moment, and I had to be ready for it.1
Space exploration and travel permeated popular culture in the 1960s, following Yuri Gagarin’s orbit around the earth in 1961 and culminating in Apollo 11 in 1969. In fashion, Pierre Cardin launched his Space Age Collection in 1964. The Australian fabric designer Bruce Finlayson set the key for the shoot at Parkes by his use of modern synthetic materials to create fashions for the new age.
Anne O’Hehir 2002
1Sheryn George ‘Visions Splendid’ Australian Magazine April 25–26 1998 p.57.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002