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Media Release • 6 May 16

Henry Talbot: 1960s Fashion Photographer

The striking and youthful fashion of 1960s Melbourne is the starring subject of more than eighty photographs by fashion photographer Henry Talbot, many of which have never been exhibited before.

Showcasing the shifting face of fashion from a time that has captured popular imagination, many of the images have never been seen since their original publication 50 years ago and offer an insight into the styles and attitudes of the 1960s.

The photographs on display have been carefully selected from an extraordinary archive of 35,000 negatives that Talbot gifted to the NGV in the 1980s.

‘Henry Talbot’s photography captures the exuberance and changing times of a generation. His modern photographs depict an emerging youth culture and offer an insider’s look into a thriving cultural scene during the 1960s,’ said Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV.

A European émigré artist from Germany, Talbot brought an invigorating internationalism to Australian photography and partnered with Helmut Newton. Their Flinders Lane studio was very successful enterprise and secured major clients including the Australian Wool Board and Sportscraft. It was during the 1960s that Talbot established his place as a dynamic force in Australian fashion photography and his work was regularly published in Australian Vogue.

The exhibition includes some of Talbot’s beautiful fashion spreads from 1960s Australian Vogue, providing a visual history that chronicles the magazine’s first decade in Australia. The photographs will be presented alongside a display of early edition Australian Vogue magazines, including those in which Talbot’s photographs originally appeared, offering an insight into the aspirational fashion and lifestyle choices of Australians living in this era.

Talbot’s photography also highlights the public’s affinity with uniquely Australian brands, such as Qantas and Holden. Fast cars and air travel were aspirational luxury experiences in the 1960s and, as a result, airports, planes and brand new cars were the glamorous setting for many of Talbot’s photographs, demonstrating his astute understanding of current trends and consumer culture.

From an outback sheep station, to lamp-lit streets of Melbourne, Australian cityscapes and landscapes also provided the backdrop to some of Talbot’s most arresting photographs. Shot on location around Melbourne, these photographs showcase Talbot’s adventurous style and ability to transform 1960s Melbourne into scenes that looked like Paris, London, New York – a testament to his ‘international eye’.

A photographer with an astute vision, Talbot also ingeniously transformed Altona Petrochemical Company into an intergalactic, futuristic setting that captured the public’s fascination with space travel during the ‘space race’ of the 1960s. This exciting suite of images demonstrates the ways in which space travel permeated popular culture, including space-age fashion trends.

The exhibition will open during the NGV’s landmark 200 Years of Australian Fashion exhibition and together, these two exhibitions will offer a comprehensive and fresh new look at Australian fashion in the 1960s.


Curator’s Perspective
Sat 7 May, 12pm
Speaker Susan van Wyk, Senior Curator of Photography, NGV
Cost Free
Venue Exhibition space, Level 3 NGV Australia