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January 2024 – John McRae Photography & Studio

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

Let’s Be Frank – Skincare

I was approached for a new commission by Samantha Leith, who I have photographed several times before. Samantha is a powerhouse of creativity, known as a performer, business strategist and motivational speaker. She comes from a performance background and in the past, I had photographed Samantha in relation to shows/presentations that she was staging.

Samantha Leith

This occasion was a little different. In the studio, we would be photographing a series of women to produce imagery that will be used to promote the new skin care range Samantha is involved in launching. These women have agreed to become ambassadors for the brand, including her friends and colleagues Amanda, Angela, Monica, Sarah and Yvonne, as well as Samantha herself.

The skincare range is called “Let’s Be Frank Skincare”. It is an Australian-made skincare range specifically formulated for women who are experiencing some of the skin concerns associated with peri-menopause, menopause and post-menopause.

It was a great day. These women were such fun to work with and they all made sure that they were going to enjoy themselves during our photo-shoot. From the moment they walked into the studio to prepare for make-up and hair, got dressed in the glam attire they chose to wear and then took up their positions in front of the camera, until it was time to skip out the door, it was a magical experience to portray women full of confidence and joy.

It was a hive of activity – women in makeup
Melanie Burnicle MUA performs her magci

Photographing an in-house conference at KPMG

I was asked to visit the offices of KPMG at their Sydney head office at Barangaroo to capture images of an in-house conference that was taking place with a number of their executives. I have featured a few of the images captured on the day as part of this blog.

I also managed to capture head shots of a number of the attendees. We set up a temporary studio in a section of the space to achieve these portraits.

It is always a great experience for me to work in these kinds of highly professional corporate environments.

A story of a mother, a daughter and a photographer

I was recently approached by Lena Kasparian, a talented dress designer who displays her work in the Queen Victoria Building, to photograph her eldest daughter, Laura Kasparian. Laura is embarking on a modelling career, and so we decided to stage a series of test shots in the studio.

It is invaluable for someone starting out in the industry to practice poses and gain experience, and to build on one’s ability to work well in front of a camera. So organising regular “test shoots” is the foundation for gaining that experience.

On the day of our shoot, Laura was styled by her mother while we photographed a number of different looks. To finish up the series, we decided to create a mother/daughter portrait, capturing the designer with her muse.

Here is a few shots from our short time in the studio.

Annual Portrait shoot for NAPWHA in the streets Newtown

For several years I have photographed for the team working in the HIV space, NAPWHA (National Association of People Living with HIV Australia). NAPWHA is a peak body which spans advocacy, representation, policy & health and promotion for people living with HIV. Each year, for the annual report,  I am asked to update their staff photos, individual portraits and group shots.

This year, as a point of difference, I decided to create an alternative representation of the individual images by creating composite portraits of three images of the same person … also as a way of showing the idea of diversity

As in previous years, we head into the back streets of Newtown, where the NAPWHA office is located, to find an interesting urban backdrop for the portraits. It is not hard to find a laneway or street lined with bold, colourful graffiti. A big thanks to the local street artists for helping us with the artistic direction of the shots

Margarita Sampson – Sculpture By The Sea, 2023

Sun Bather, exhibited at Sculpture By The Sea, 2023

Margarita Sampson is a regular in the line-up of artists who gain inclusion in the popular “Sculpture By The Sea”. This outdoor event occurs each year and extends along the Sydney eastern foreshore between Bondi and Tamarama beaches. Sculpture By The Sea is touted as the largest, free to the public, sculpture exhibition in the world. I know that many Sydney-siders eagerly wait in anticipation for this end-of-year cultural enterprise..

For a few years now, I have been asked by Margarita to photograph her sculptures when they have been selected and installed in the parkland by the coast. I jumped at the opportunity to go to Bondi to spend some time with the latest art works, which this time included Margarita’s filigree metal Sun Bather

Margarita is a talented artist, working across disciplines and using many different materials. See more of her work out here: Link

Flashback – Art Prize entries

Meat  John McRae, 2012
Pigment inkjet on cotton rag 112cm x 162cm
Edition of 6 (2AP)

As I was going through my archives of imagery for inclusion in the various art prizes that make up the artistic landscape each year, I thought I would start to post my past prize-entries from time to time. Here’s a photograph that was selected as a finalist in the 2012 Blake Prize.

Artist Statement

“The shot was taken in a local butchery.  Raw and visceral, a metaphor and reminder of the brutality and crudeness that life, all too often, presents.  Like sausages, packaged and processed as we deal with the regularity of the patterns of our existence, external and internal.  Perhaps the viewer is thrown towards the question of whether we are more than just our corporeal machinations.”

John McRae, 2012

Group portrait of the Prince of Wales Emergency Department staff

Prince of Wales Emergency Department, 2023

Just prior to the Christmas break, I was asked to photograph a large group portrait of the entire team who worked at the Prince of Wales Emergency Department at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick. This might well be the largest number of people I have photographed in one portrait.

However, it was not in one sitting, nor was it in a single frame. Understandably it would be almost impossible (nor ethically sound) to ask all the doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals to “tools down” at the same time and head outside for a photograph. I’m sure there would have been a few complaints from the patients, to say the least.

Therefore we decided to shoot various smaller groups at staggered times over the period of an afternoon. In the hospital carpark, I set up a make-shift studio. When people were available they could head outside to get their portrait taken.

As a solution to create one final image, I “composited” all the various groups together into one extended image of 120 people (example of separately captured groups, below) with the entrance to the hospital as the background (see background image of the Emergency Department entrance, below).

Image used as the background for the group portrait

Re:form creates its 2024 Calendar

Re:Form Construction is one of my construction clients. As a highly skilled, boutique building company, they are a joy to work with.

Gerard Murphy, the director of the company, decided that each year Re:Form would produce a calendar featuring members of its team, as a give-away at Christmas time.

I had the pleasure of capturing individual and group shots of different members of the Re:Form Construction team while they worked on-site at their respective trade skills. I visited one of their sites in Castlecrag in Sydney, and then on another occasion, I traveled to the Megalong Valley where another team of workmen were engaged in the construction of a large tourist project.

The calendar is a fun and inclusive publication, and it was an enjoyable process to capture these outdoor and working portraits. The men also get a kick out of having their “15 minutes of fame”, plus the idea of appearing as a month on the calendar.