CABARET – Hayes theatre production with Paul Capsis

One of my favourite photo commissions this week was shooting the very talented Paul Capsis for the cover image for SX magazine.

As well as being a ground-breaking actor/singer and all-round performer, Paul is cheeky and fun to be around. Over the years, I have photographed him in numerous disguises. The new portraits of Paul show him in the role of the unhinged, slightly diabolical Master of Ceremonies, from the stage production of Cabaret. They were staged at my Lilyfield studio, which overlooks Callan Park. (It’s only a coincidence that I work in a studio which overlooks an abandoned insane asylum).

“Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome,” sings the MC. “Leave your troubles outside! Life is disappointing? Forget it!”

With Mariel McClorey on make-up and Drew-Elizabeth Johnstone on hair, excellent results were assured. Here are some shots of the preparation in my studio and three finished portraits which demonstrate Paul’s dramatic flair.

 

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Hansen Yuncken – ceremoniously turns the first shovel of dirt (with help from some young students) at the site of their new construction at Trinity Grammar

The team at Hansen Yuncken is about to start work on a new project at Trinity Grammar in Summer Hill, Sydney. To mark the occasion it is customary to stage a ceremony where the first “sod” is turned on the site of the construction.

Happily on this occasion the grown-ups had some welcome help from a few younger “construction workers” in long-fitting hi-vis and spacious hard-hats. Perhaps the new cadets of the future.

For more information on the extent of the renewal project, click on this link:

Marketing images – construction

A number of my clients are in the construction business and occasionally I am asked to go on-site and produce images that can be used for marketing purposes. One such occasion arose recently at one of Hansen and Yuncken’s building sites at Meadowbank TAFE. I was commissioned to capture a series of images of their staff, on site and at work, that could be used for marketing purposes such as tenders.

Unless there is a concise brief, in which the client requests specific shots, my general approach is to go on-site and to work in an impromptu but professional way. It is not always necessary to direct the subjects when setting up the shot. I prefer to wait for the right moment and then step in to take the photograph. Besides, it’s not as if my subjects are paid fashion models. They are usually the employees of the company, photographed by me as they go about their normal day-to-day duties.

I enjoy this type of photography, since it allows me to step into the universe of construction and to see how a large-scale operation works from a human point of view.

BRENDA CALL ME – Season 2

Courtney Act and Vanity are at it again. Following their very successful first season of the NOVA podcast of Brenda, Call Me, where our two partners in crime would meet each week to “chew the fat” on what had got them all fired-up, Courtney and Vanity will be back on the airwaves from this Thursday, May 19, 2022. 

In mid-April, we shot these promotional images at Sydney Props with the team from NOVA, as well as Stephanie Liebeck (On-site Stylist) and Russall Beatie (Head Stylist), both from Giant Panda King, who were responsible for the concept, set design and additional photo re-touching.

But wait…..there’s a narrative!

According to Courtney’s instagram (@courtneyact), while she was exploring the planet Octopoda, Courtney “has gotten herself into trouble” while on an Intergalactic Lady Grindr date gone wrong. 


“You don’t look anything like your picture! You have 9 arms instead of 8! BRENDA, CALL ME!”
“Don’t worry Brenda, I’m coming to save you.!”

While aboard the USS Brenda, in orbit around the planet Octopoda, Vanity hears a distress call from Courtney, whose intergalactic Grindr date has gone horribly wrong. “Don’t worry Brenda, I’m coming to save you!”

Vanity finds Courtney hand-cuffed to a Chick-Feather-Boa Tree and tells the 9 armed catfish, who looks more like an octopus, to scarper before she zaps him with her stun-ing gun.
Courtney and Vanity beam back up to the “USS Brenda” to relative safety.
Finally, the two friends celebrate in the safety of the mother-ship.

Catch these two characters from this Thursday on a weekly basis at NOVA Podcasts (Brenda Call Me). As Courtney states….”Vanity and I are bringing you more astounding honesty, friendship and some queer history!”

Prime Constructions builds new hall at Jamison High School

Prime Constructions was established in 1983 by Ron Masters & Phil de Gail and is now regarded as one of the leading building contractors in NSW. Paul Christopher and John Drake have joined Ron and Phil as the current executive management team.

I was commissioned by Prime to document a recent construction at Jamison High School in Penrith. This educational facility will enjoy the benefits of a brand new, state of the art, multi-purpose hall.

Screen Australia – Further Head Shots

We recently returned to the offices of Screen Australia in Ultimo to set-up for a series of corporate head shots.

I love shooting head shots because I get to meet and interact (for a brief while) with members of various companies and organisations who commission me to produce portraits.  Often, in my role as a photographer, I might work with only one or two people from a company – be it the PR person or the head of marketing. However, when staging head shots, I am able to meet other professionals within an organisation, and establish a different rapport.

I maintain a lot of respect for my subjects and for each situation. To be in front of the camera, and under the spotlights, is not the most comfortable position for many people. It is my job to make it as pleasant an experience as possible, also for those people who are not normally on the screen themselves. 

NSW Ambulance – welcomes their new aircraft with a smoking ceremony

Rex subsidiary Pel-Air and New South Wales Ambulance organised an official hand-over ceremony, smoking ceremony, and blessing of the new aircraft fleet after Pel-Air commenced operations for the NSW Ambulance Air Ambulance. This follows the arrival of their fleet of brand-new Beechcraft King Air 350C planes at Mascot on January 1, 2022 (see my previous blog entry:  https://www.johnmcrae.com/nsw-ambulance-new-planes-take-to-the-skies/ )

The event was attended by Rex Group Deputy Chairman, Hon John Sharp AM and NSW Ambulance Executive Director, Dr. Sarah Coombes (pictured below), and other key staff.

NSW Ambulance Executive Director, Dr. Sarah Coombes and Rex Group Deputy Chairman, Hon John Sharp AM
The fleet of 5 new planes on the tarmac at Mascot

La Boite announces Courtney Stewart as the newly appointed Artistic Director

In late April I had the pleasure of photographing Courtney Stewart. Courtney has recently been selected as the incoming artistic director of La Boite in Brisbane. She is currently working on an STC production in Sydney but will be heading back to Brisbane to take up her role at La Boite in July.

Courtney required some updated portraits to accompany the official announcement and press release. With Courtney’s busy schedule, as well as juggling a family, there wasn’t much time. We ventured into the “textured” back streets of Marrickville on this occasion.

For more information on Courtney and her appointment visit: Limelight or ArtsReview

Upstaged – by the star of the show!

I recently photographed the legendary singer/entertainer Shauna Jensen in my studio. Shauna and I got together with Kerrie Stanley, the make-up artist, to create images of some new looks that Shauna will use to promote up-coming shows and performances.

I have been photographing Shauna for many years both on stage and in my studio. However on this occasion she brought a very special friend with her for her studio shoot. His name is Bucky and he’s the cutest thing. Of course it would be rude not to get a few shots of Bucky and Shauna together, so I asked Bucky to “strike a pose”, and he obeyed. There is a common saying that you should never appear on stage next to children or dogs … they’re bound to upstage you.

If you want to catch Shauna at her next appearance for a night of fine food and wonderful entertainment (great voice and stage presence) she is appearing at Claire’s Kitchen on 27 May, 2022. See below for details:

Shauna receives the finishing touches by Kerrie Stanley (MUA)
Go and see Shauna…”she’ll tear your heart apart with her talent”.

Maisonnets – when you’re searching for that get-away shangri-la

If you’re looking for a perfect place to get-away, a short-term rental for any reason, look no further than Maisonnets.

I’ve been shooting for some time now the various properties that become available under the Maisonnet banner. Maisonnets is a company that manages properties for owners in the short-term rental market. They manage a concierge, cleaning and maintenance service, a kind of middle man between the owner of the property and the various clients decide to rent the properites.

It has been interesting to see the interior of all the homes I have photographed.