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John McRae Photography & Studio – Sydney Professional, Commercial & Corporate Photography

Fashion and jewellery collaboration in Melbourne

Circa AD, a personal jeweller based in Melbourne teamed up with Perri Cutten, the well-known, Melbourne-based fashion label to work together on creating a new campaign.

I flew down to Victoria to shoot Adrian Dickens’ fabulous jewellery for Circa AD, worn by the model Sharon, stylishly dressed in Perri Cutten outfits.  On location in the inner Melbourne suburb of Windsor, we produced imagery with a warm intimacy and fashionable flair. More photographs from this shoot to follow in a later post.

Elevating the impact of your stories: introducing Drone Photography & Video!

I’m thrilled to share an exciting update from my studio, set to elevate your visual storytelling to new heights.

Introducing Drone Photography & Video Services

Together with the expertise provided by my “in-flight” technical colleagues, I’m taking to the skies to offer you the impact of breathtaking aerial shots and videos, adding a striking perspective to your marketing potential. Whether you’re looking to captivate your audience with aerial views as part of your company’s promotional content, bring a new dimension to customer stories, or add an unforgettable touch to your special events like weddings or performances, we’ve got you covered.

Why drone photography

 Unique perspectives: Capture angles and vistas which can’t be achieved through traditional photography.

– Engaging content: Elevate your social media and marketing clout with captivating aerial footage and stand-out imagery.

– Dynamic versatility: Perfect for real estate showcases, plotting construction progress, documenting event highlights, and scenic backdrops for many occasions.

Stay tuned for our portfolio update, where we’ll be showcasing some of our spectacular drone captures.

If you are interested in adding a sky-high perspective to your next project or event, let’s chat about how we can integrate drone photography and video into your vision.

Elevate your story with John McRae Photography.

The Hayes Theatre team back in my studio for a promotional shoot

It was a cold winter morning in Sydney but this didn’t stop the team from The Hayes Theatre from coming to my Lilyfield studio for a promotional shoot to capture images for their ever-expanding program of productions and shows. This included portraits of Nancye Hayes, Jay Laga’aia and Aaron Tsindos, ably assisted by Ashleigh Grace (hair and make-up), Brendan de la Hay (wardrobe/stylist), as well as producer, Rica Canillas, artistic directors Richard Carroll and Victoria Falconer. The proceedings were documented by the content creator, Blythe Ashton.

Sydney AIDS Candlelight Memorial 2024

I was recently asked to photograph the events of the Sydney AIDS Candlelight Memorial by Positive Life NSW.

This emotional event provides an opportunity for members of the community to come together to reflect on and remember all those who have passed away from HIV/AIDS.

It was a moving experience to be a part of this solemn moment where people together remember and mark the passing of friends, partners, family and colleagues, often from the ravages of the early years of the AIDS epidemic. It reminded me about the importance of such rituals in our fast-paced society, where we take a moment out of our busy lives to reflect on such matters

After people arrived at the Eternity Playhouse in Darlinghurst, everyone gathered in the main auditorium to hear speakers including Yvonne Weldon, Stephen Lunny and Lyle Chan. Community members read the names of people who had passed, from a long, sad list. The proceedings finished with a rousing song performed by Mary Kiani, before attendees reminisced with each other over refreshments at the front-of-house.

United For Care – new independent living facility opens in Merrylands

It was a festive morning at the grand opening of the newly completed Merrylands facility of United For Care, in partnership with Vertika to provide supported independent living (SIL).

United For Care is an organisation that provides many kinds of support and assistance within the disability sector. It has partnered with Vertika, a company specialised in the development of vertical integrated specialist accommodation within the same sector

Nick Jones (video) and I (still photographs) covered the event, and recorded many of the morning’s activities. We even managed to include a number of voice-to-camera interviews with selected participants.

We toured the newly created apartments, hearing from some of the executive team as well as listening to a speech from Jacob, the very first resident of the complex. DJ Dylan from Wollongong was spinning on the turn-table – not to mention the amazing coffee cart out the front of the building with a wonderful array of cup-cakes. There was also a heart-felt “welcome to country” performed on the upper terrace. 

New fragrances – ESNC opens new store in Bankstown

I’ve long had an interest in perfumes. I remember arriving in Paris after I first started traveling in my early 20’s and loving to try all the various fragrances at the large Parisian department stores. Through the years, I have sampled many … and subsequently I’ve spent heaps on purchasing these very expensive bottles of, essentially, scented water.

While my interest in perfume has continued, I look for new fragrances and in particular alternatives to the costly luxury brands. So I responded with great interest when I was approached to create imagery for ESNC, a new in-store boutique at the Bankstown Shopping Centre, for a brand which sells perfumes designed and manufactured in Turkey. 

I set out to take images of the newly-built retail installation. The counter/shop has been built by Alishan Yucel from Feature Point Constructions. I have shot projects before for Ali in Melbourne (see previous post here). Ali completes beautiful work … his finishes in particular are amazing. Based in Melbourne, he created modular pieces of the ESNC counter at his workshop. He then transported the units to Sydney, to be assembled on site at Bankstown.

I spent time with Sam (owner of ESNC), his wife and the sales crew during one Saturday morning, and captured both stills and video of some of their interaction with the general public. I’ve posted some of the results as part of this post and the images speak for themselves…..dropping in to the ESNC store in Bankstown will definitely be a lot of fun.

Xenia Constructions upgrade shopping centre entrance in Forster

The other week I made a trip into rural NSW to photograph the recent upgrade by Xenia Constructions to the entrance to the Stocklands Shopping Centre in Forster.

Originally coming from Victoria, having grown up on a dairy farm in the Wimmera Mallee region, I am not so aware of the life-style in country NSW. Hence I enjoyed the chance to be able to travel beyond Sydney and its urban perimeters.

For this project, I ventured to Forster on the NSW coast, approximately two hours drive north of Newcastle. I had rarely been to this part of the state, so it was a new working experience for me. It did not disappoint. You honestly can’t complain about the coastline of this beautiful country where we live.

I arrived early to capture the site with the softer light of the morning. Luckily I set up a bit earlier than originally planned, since the light quickly became harsh after the sun rose higher. Sydney had been experiencing an exceptionally wet and overcast week, putting a question mark over whether I should risk hitting bad weather in Forster. But I decided to trust the weather forecast for that area (not that you can always rely on the forecast) and to make the journey. I had a feeling that it would be OK … and it was.

I am certainly ready for more jaunts into the country, organising a new project or two to shoot … while I expand my familiarity with rural NSW.

Chérie Désirée returns to Kings Cross

Chérie Désirée
 is a truly glamorous woman who is one of the luminaries you may meet along the streets of Rozelle. She absolutely captures my attention to the point that I asked her one day if she would pose for me. I wanted to capture her wonderful silhouette on film.

I first brought Cherie to my studio in Lilyfield to complete a studio shoot and capture a series of portraits. During this session, while we chatted,  I learned about Cherie’s remarkable dancing career and her life on the stage. She worked for many years touring in notable theatres around the country as a dancer and chorus performer. Originally from a small dairy farm in Queensland, this slender, good-looking woman left behind the rural life for a life under the spotlights. Once she told me that she had been a dancer, the rest made sense … the way Cherie held herself, those slender legs, her shimmering dress, her costume jewellery and her sense of style.

El Bongo, Darlinghurst Rd, King Cross, 1962
Darlinghurst Rd, King Cross, 1962

El Bongo, Darlinghurst Rd, King Cross, 1962

I also learnt that she fell in love with and married a handsome Italian singer called Filippo. Together they were the owners of several restaurant/nightclubs in Darlinghurst. One such club was called “El Bongo”, later known as “The Pink Pussycat”. This was situated on Darlinghurst Road in King Cross and was part of the infamous “Golden Mile” that people still talk so much about.

I thought it would be a good idea to take a couple of shots of Cherie in front of what was once one of her regular dancing venues. So we ventured to Kings Cross. I asked Cherie to pose in front of what was once El Bongo … sadly now just a vacant shop space, devoid of the dynamism and vibrancy it once had back in the day. This sad reality of a once vivid club-and-restaurant circuit now replaced by an empty and half-dead street, is extreme.

Cherie told me about how she would earn extra money to help pay for her sisters’ schooling, often dancing at three different clubs along the strip, all on the same night, moving from one stage to the next, covering up her costume with a coat as she hailed a cab or ran through the streets. I imagined her doing exactly that, her long legs running down the busy street as she made her way to the next venue. I also thought to myself what amazing stories this woman has in her kit bag, having spent so much time in a place which was notoriously “happening” during a period people still reminisce about.

The vacant space (now for lease) which was once the vibrant “El Bongo Restaurant”

Cherie added that she and her husband also owned another club in the area. They ran a restaurant/club on Oxford Street at the location which is now known as “Palms”. So I feel another shoot may happen soon not far from Taylors Square … maybe when the weather warms up.

A touch of Mad Max in Rozelle

It might be a tad cold at the moment in Sydney but on the positive side, I find that the light is fantastic. I do prefer the winter light as it seems to give a much crisper definition to my images. Also you don’t have to wait for quite as long for the end of the day to come, when the light becomes softer and more forgiving – although the days are shorter and the sunsets and sunrises happen very rapidly.

I am using this period of the year to get out and take a few shots of my greater environment … buildings, street scenes, things that interest me, whenever I find some free time, as happened the other evening on the way home from the swimming pool. I saw the western side of the city lit up with the last rays of the sun. Luckily I had my camera with me in the car, so I stopped and snapped a few frames.

I did marvel at the unusual, futuristic looking cylinders that border the park. They are the exhaust stacks emerging from the tunnels that extends beneath the Rozelle Parklands, newly excavated as part of the WestConnex interchange. In my mind, they look like they belong on the set of one of George Miller’s Mad Max movies.

“Rumour Has It, Naomi Price” – wins over her audience at the State Theatre

Well-known singer and entertainer Naomi Price of The Little Red Company gave a wonderful performance at the State Theatre in Sydney on Friday May 24, 2024. I was asked to grab some photographs of the performance, a homage to Adele titled “Rumour Has It”.

I hadn’t been to the State Theatre for a while and I had forgotten just how impressive the interior is … starting with the imposing, marble double staircase at the entrance to the lush, ornate interior of the main room. You can only hope that these “Grand Dames” from the past glory of architecture will endure, and keep side-stepping redevelopment.

Naomi Price’s performance was magnificent. She chose to create a show from Adele’s record-breaking repertoire. In fact Naomi “became” Adele. She duplicated her Northern London accent to a T, and gave her audience a healthy dose of comic relief. Here’s a link to Dragica Jukic’s review of the cabaret-style concert: Click here.

The following are a few images of the night, taken while I discreetly raced around the auditorium looking for the best angles to capture Naomi on stage.

“Ride The Cyclone” – new production at the Hayes Theatre heads into the studio

I have been working on lead photography for the upcoming Hayes Theatre production of the new musical Ride The Cyclone, directed by Richard Carroll. This will be the Australian premiere of this hilarious story about the lives of six Canadian teenagers from a chamber choir, who are involved in a freak accident aboard a rollercoaster. The Washington Post called it “ingeniously dark and funny”.

Before the actors and crew head into an intensive rehearsal period, they called into my Lilyfield studio to generate some fresh content for their marketing push. The Hayes Theatre is currently doing a lot of good work in the realm of musical theatre, spotlighting new ideas and young performers.

Here is a series of images that I captured as out-takes during the afternoon I spent together with the crew, make-up artists and actors (Natalie Abbott, Bailey Dunnage, Lincoln Elliott, Justin Gray, Ava Madon, Mel O’Brien, Karis Oka and Alec Steedman). More final imagery and production details to follow in a subsequent post.

High fashion and jewellery, high-up in Melbourne

I recently flew to Melbourne to photograph an evening of fashion and jewellery at the Morgan Stanley offices in the lofty heights of the corporate central business district.

The event was generously hosted by Morgan Stanley in Collins Street and featured wonderful outfits from Perri Cutten styled with beautiful pieces from the Circa AD Jewels collection, with a goodie bag bursting with gifts from ISoMLindt, Perri Cutten, Morgan Stanley and Circa AD Jewels,

The evening was a fund raiser for the charity Giant Steps Melbourne, supporting children and adults on the autism spectrum. The evening raised more than $10,000 for this valuable organisation.

The offices are immaculate and a wonderful space for hosting such an event. Perri Cutten’s garments were enhanced by an array of fabulous jewellery from Adrian Dickens of Circa AD Jewels, Melbourne.

I captured some video footage of the parade. See below:

“In These Shoes – Glynis Traill-Nash” performs at the Perth International Cabaret Festival

This year, from June 10 to 23, Perth is again the host to the Perth International Cabaret Festival (PICF)

Some time ago, I staged a shoot at my studio for the talented, intelligent and vibrant Australian fashion luminary, Glynis Traill-Nash. It was a great afternoon of creativity, fun and really, really stunning shoes!

We worked on imagery for Glynis’ forthcoming season of performances at the PICF in June. However, little did I know beforehand that Glynis the renowned fashion writer, is also an accomplished jazz singer (by night).

The show sounds great … incorporating her talents as a singer with stories, anecdotes, advice and even a tongue-in-cheek Q&A responding to the wacky world of fashion. The title says it all: “In These Shoes – Glynis Traill-Nash.” See this link:

“Tell Me On A Sunday”

Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to attend a dress rehearsal at the Hayes Theatre for Tell Me On A Sunday, the upcoming Sydney production of the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black. As a lover of theatre and photography, I was thrilled to be able to help stage some behind-the-scenes moments of the talented cast and crew in action.

Capturing these moments on camera was a privilege, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to document the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in bringing this show to life. I look forward to seeing the finished performance starring Erin Clare on opening night in Sydney. I know that audiences are in for a real treat with this stunning production of Tell Me On A Sunday.

Tell Me On A Sunday commenced performances at the Hayes Theatre this weekend, taking audiences back to the heady days of New York City in the late Seventies and featuring some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most hummable, emotionally engaging, touching and melodic work.

Working with lyricist Don Black, Lloyd Webber’s song cycle tells the story of a young Englishwoman navigating a new life – including work, culture and love – in New York City.

It includes the classic songs Take That Look Off Your Face, Tell Me On A Sunday, Nothing Like You’ve Ever Known, Capped Teeth and Caesar Salad, It’s Not The End of the World, Come Back With the Same Look In Your Eyes and Let’s Talk About You, among many others.

This musical features a knockout performance from Erin Clare as ‘The Girl’ and is directed by Blazey Best, with Musical Supervision by Guy Simpson. This is a unique piece of musical theatre featuring a multi instrumentalist six piece band on stage.

Cast and Creatives

  • Starring Erin Clare
  • Director Blazey Best
    Musical Supervisor Guy Simpson
    Musical Director David Gardos
    Associate Director Lisa Callingham
    Lighting Designer Kelsey Lee
    Sound Designer Tom Brickhill
    Stage & Company Manager Krystelle Quartermain
    Assistant Stage Manage Hana Barn

Check out the review in Australian Stage

Mainbrace – installs charging stations at Eastern Creek

Mainbrace Constructions, a well-known, Melbourne-based construction company has recently installed a series of high-tech charging stations for “Team Global Express” at Eastern Creek.

I headed to the facility situated amid western Sydney’s growing industrial estates to document the new infrastructure, set up to furnish a sleek new fleet of battery-powered delivery trucks.

My photographs show the regulated lines of vehicles positioned at the automated power stations, providing an impressive, almost futuristic look as they are “re-fuelled” for the next day’s work.

Together with my drone operator, Aymeric, we took wide-angle video footage of the site as well. See footage below:

New profile images for Bentley Estate Agents

The team at Bentley Estate Agents came into the studio recently to update their professional profile images.

The agency has recently expanded by moving into new premises in Elizabeth Bay.

It was a pleasure to meet Tanya (Director), Francesco (Director) and Costa (Property Manager) during the shoot. I am always reminded how lucky I am to be a photographer and have the continuing opportunity to meet great people in relation to my work.

Through the streets of Rozelle

One recent summer evening I decided to wander down Darling Street with my camera, to capture some images of the streets of Rozelle and Lilyfield as the skies turned to dusk.

It was a great exercise because not only did the light have an almost surreal quality, but it was fascinating to see how the corner shops, pubs and buildings which I pass by almost every-day are able to take on another dimension.

So every now and then, as I have done so in the past, I will continue to document my local area  … it’s worthwhile to record the changes over time, to highlight what stays the same and also to get some fresh air at sunset. 

Zombie The Musical – at the Hayes Theatre

Zombie! The Musical! has just opened at the Hayes Theatre in Sydney. I photographed a series of production images at the dress rehearsal for this world premiere in early March.

Here’s a text from the web-site of the Hayes Theatre with a brief explanation of the genre-bending show …

Sydney, Australia. It’s the turn of the 21st century, and a dedicated community theatre troupe are frantically rehearsing in the final hours before their big opening night. Little do they know that beyond the walls of the theatre, a highly infectious disease is rapidly spreading through the city – turning its victims into full-blown zombies. Will humanity take its final bow, or can the power of musical theatre save the friggin’ world?

From the creator of The Lovers, this brand-new Australian musical wields a genre-blending original score and a fast-paced, farcical script that combines two of the most subtle forms of storytelling: traditional musical theatre and cult-classic zombie films.

I must say I loved shooting scenes from this madcap production. With comic timing, Zombie! The Musical! includes optimism, ambition and impending doom. The music is fabulous, the cast were captivating and the whole thing is both fun and off-the-scale in terms of its energy and inventiveness. I think it’s a great production, guaranteed to entertain. I intend to return again, so I can better enjoy the ride without my camera. To book tickets, visit the Hayes web-site.

  • Cast & Creatives
  • Starring Natalie Abbott, Tamsin Carroll, Chelsea Dawson, Nancy Denis, Adam Di Martino, Ryan Gonzalez, Stefanie Jones, Drew Livingston and Monique Sallé
  • Director Darren Yap
    Musical Director Damon Wade
    Choreographer/Assistant Director Chiara Assetta
    Set Designer Nick Fry
    Costume Designer Esther Zhong
    Lighting & Projection Designer Verity Hampson
    Sound Designer David Grigg
    Dramaturg Brittanie Shipway
    Fight Director Tim Dashwood
    Wig, Hair & Makeup Designer Hayden Tee
    Video Associate Maddy Picard
    Intimacy Coordinator Chloë Dallimore
    Stage Manager Bronte Schuftan
    Assistant Stage Manager Jessie Byrne
    Wig, Hair & Makeup Design Assistant Ashleigh Grace
    Sound Operators Sam Ducker & Keith Muir
    Music Copying  Gianna Cheung & Damon Wade
    Arrangements Laura Murphy
    Orchestrations Laura Murphy & Steven Kramer
    Additional Orchestration Steven KramerMusicians: Maia Hopf (deputy musical director), Graham Hunt, Jonathan Lim, David Stratton

Here’s a couple of reviews…..to see what the critics think:

J Wire TimeOut

SMH Limelight

A Little Night Music – takes home Sydney Theatre Awards

At the annual Sydney Theatre Awards, Best Production of a Musical was awarded to the Hayes Theatre’s new production of A Little Night Music, directed by Dean Bryant. Nancye Hayes was awarded Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical for her role in the same production, playing Madame Armfeldt in Stephen Sondheim’s acclaimed play. Congratulations to all involved. I am proud that the images used for these awards incorporated my own production shots of the cast of A Little Night Music, taken in 2023.

Update your head shot for 2024

The start of the year is a great time to consider updating your professional headshot or creating a new image of yourself.

I invite you to come to my comfortable and relaxed studio in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Lilyfield, where we can create your new image together.

We can discuss what options are best. I am happy to tailor the shoot to your specific needs –  this may be a corporate headshot, something more relaxed, or an actor’s headshot. You may want to use the images for your portfolio, your CV, your social media profiles such as linked-in, facebook and instagram … or you may have other intentions. We can create a number of different eye-catching looks. I am happy to advise you on what direction we could take.

Above all, we will make the process as fun and rewarding as can be.

Give me a call on 0419 619 161 or contact me via email: john@johnmcrae.com