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.
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!”
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!”
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.
Lauren Goudy is a buyer’s agent working in the buoyant Sydney real estate world. She works as part of the Rose & Jones team of property managers and vendors’ advocates, out of their offices in Double Bay.
Lauren required fresh content for her various promotional platforms. So she asked me to take a series of casual shots of her going about her daily routine, which included meeting with clients, visiting prospective properties and traveling to sites of interest around the Eastern suburbs. We included a couple of fun portraits with the same mood of those old films about the Pink Panther, Modesty Blaise, James Bond and Swinging London.
Lauren (see her profile) is a Licenced Real Estate Agent with a 14-year career negotiating the sale of homes in some of the most prestigious suburbs, firstly in Melbourne, now in Sydney. She prides herself on her ability to help her clients to make smart property decisions and her own knack of securing quality real estate in the competitive Sydney market.
I recently photographed the esteemed architect, Mark Butler, at various sites around the CBD, including The Rocks and under the Harbour Bridge. As principal architect of Butler Associates Pty Ltd, his firm required new imagery to use in an up-coming marketing campaign for projects overseas.
Mark is a highly experienced and passionate Australian designer who constantly strives for design excellence through an innovative and imaginative approach. He has extensive international experience working in Australia, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Algeria and the Middle East.
Over the past 20 years Mark has worked collaboratively on a variety of international and award winning projects, with highlights such as, the Watercube for the Beijing 2008 Olympics (2003-2008), the iconic residential project, City Gardens in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (2006- 2012) the design of the Zenith Theatre and Exhibition Centre for the Arab Arts Festival (2015), in Constantine, Algeria. Currently he is working on a number of new projects in Vietnam having completed the Chi Dong Residential Tower, Kingdom 101 Residence and Banciao Residential Tower.
Trevor Ashley, the Australian musical theatre actor, cabaret and drag artist based in Sydney, is continually inventing new characters and new looks.
Currently he has been working on the Drag Hag podcast and providing re-caps of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under (to see episode 4, click here).
At the studio Trevor posed under the lights showcasing a series of vibrant, extravagant and fun new alter egos with costumes by Frida Las Vegas, under the master touch of Daniel Cater (aka Dallas Dellaforce) who took care of hair, make-up and styling.
As a chameleon and from my experience of working with Trevor since the early 2000s, I never quite know who is going to be channeled on set…..Liza, Shirley, Edna or one of his brand new superstars.
“Step Back in Time” is the latest showcase for the best talent Sydney has to offer, performing at the Beresford Hotel on Friday and Sunday nights from February 12
I recently did the photography for the poster for the new Beresford show, with all the cast – Minnie Cooper, Jaqui St Hyde, Mynx Moscato, Troy Stone and Hayden Baulch. Think of a heady mix of the Great Gatsby and Saturday Night Fever.
And just like Kylie sang:
“When you can’t find the music. To get down and boogie. All you can do is step back in time”.
Looks like great fun….3 course dinner and show. Click here:
Performer, singer and finalist on Australia’s “The Voice”, Prinnie Stevens came by the studio to work on images for a brand new show.
Here are some behind-the-scenes shots of Prinnie getting ready with Joe and Drew doing hair and makeup. Stay tuned for further information about show dates and the release of the finished imagery from the shoot, highlighting the talents of Prinnie, well known for her roles in theatrical productions of Rent, Thriller Live, The Bodyguard and Oh, What a Night, for which she was nominated for a Helpmann Award.
What to do with an abandoned building, collecting dust, graffiti and shattered glass. Prime Constructions turned a run-down eye-sore in Pymble into a modern, highly functional office building with all the mod-cons.
I was given the unusual opportunity to photograph the project as a “before and after” record of how urban spaces can be reclaimed and repurposed.
The decision has been to respect as much of the original, high quality graffiti as possible especially in the lower ground floors and car park. In this way the past is featured as part of the present.
Tigerpak office and warehouse, Marsden Park (for The Prime Group)
SCT Warehouse, Minchinbury (for The Prime Group)
Charter Hall warehouse and offices, Prestons (for The Prime Group)
Here is a re-cap of recent shoots in Sydney for various clients.
Architectural photography is continuing to be a strong sector with development in every direction. I enjoy working with new design projects. You are generally working outside in the sunshine, with lots of space. There’s a meditative aspect as you consider the structure and how best to approach the shoot. You are alone, often in areas that are remote and new, as you wait for sun to slowly set.
Here is a selection of recent shoots:
Fire and Rescue, Orchard Hills, Sydney for Hansen Yuncken
5 commissions for Prime Constructions at Electrolux Experience Centre, Casula; GTP Logistics, Huntingwood; George Western Foods, Macquarie Park; Iron Mountain warehouse, Horsley Park; WesTrac construction equipment, Casula.
Mercedes dealership, Castle Hill for SBA Architects
Inner Sydney High School
The beginning of the Inner Sydney High School transformation….
Of particular mention is the start of construction by Hansen Yuncken of the multi-million dollar project of the new Inner Sydney High School. At the corner of Cleveland St and Chalmers St, Surry Hills this new 11 storey building will be a “state of the art” educational facility.
It’s half way through the year already and I have no idea where the time has gone.
I am embracing the fact that there is only 6 months to go until Santa comes again and looking forward to the next 6 months of interesting challenges and achievements.
Here’s a quick summary of some of the highlights from the month of June…..
George Michael – Listen to your heart
I was asked to cover the George Michael tribute concert at the Opera House Concert Hall on Sunday 8 June. It was truly fabulous. I mean you can’t go wrong with a 35 piece orchestra, some of Australia’s best voices and the classic beauty of George Michael’s exquisite writing. Casey Donovan, Rob Mills, Hugh Sheridan, Andrew De Silva, Bobby Fox and Sheldon Riley were lead by the orchestra leader, John Foreman. The crowd was as diverse as George’s musical career, spanning all age groups and demographics. They were united in their enjoyment of what was coming from the stage. Here are a few pics….
James Squires Landing
I enjoyed shooting for Xenia Contructions at the Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay. What a superb locaton. I shot in the early morning to catch the best light and avoid some of the foot traffic in that area. Seeing the sun rise over the Opera House was golden. Vivid was on at the time, so I managed to get a few shots with the Vivid light show in the background. Here are some examples.
Trevor Ashley smashes it again!
I love working with this talented and intelligent artist. Trevor Ashley is well known in the entertainment industry for his many portrayals of famous woman such as Liza Minelli and Shirley Bassey, musical theatre roles such as Miss Understanding in the original cast of Priscilla, Queen of the desert and Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, Thernadier in Les Miserables, many cabaret performances….and heaps of other things…if you want a better bio, head to wikipedia and search Trevor Ashley. I can’t do him justice here.
I have shot many incarnations of Trevor over the years….I love working with him because he makes things seem easy. They are only easy because this man is a conceptual genius and enjoys what he does.
You know you’re in for a fun shoot when you have Rhonda Burchmore and Lara Mulcahy (mega-stars and mega-nice people) coming to the studio to work on a few new shots for their brilliant show, Abba-solutely Fabulous.
We originally met last year to shoot for this new show (Rhonda and Lara were both in the original cast of Mamma Mia)….and now it has become bigger than Ben Hur, packed houses all over Australia, and they need more images to continue the promotion machine.
Apparently the show is fabulously funny and entertaining and I am looking forward to seeing it when it next comes to Sydney. Have a look at the programming and see if they are appearing near you, because I know they would be delightful to see.Click here for dates etc.
Look at the “teaser” below and tell me you’re not going to have a good time with these two lovely larakins.
Shauna’s new look
I always love shooting the gorgeous Shauna Jensen…amazing vocalist with a long and impressive career in the entertainment industry….again look her up in wikipedia, Shauna Jensen for the full bio….or go and see her next performance.
Shauna has a new look and here’s a sneak preview from the shoot we did together, earlier this month.
I have been shooting for a group of young people who meet once a month, in an open forum, to discuss various “taboo” subjects. The images from the nights are used in their social media to promote future “Taboo Talks”. Taboo Talks are the brain child of a couple of social workers, Amirah and Kosta and have been running for a good 18 months, discussing diverse subjects, frrom domestic violence to racism and everything in between. The idea is to create a safe space where people feel free to share ideas and experiences with each other on a given subject. A new topic is chosen each month and the discussion is headed and administered by nominated facilitators. If you wish to know more they have a facebook page which you are welcome to visit.
The Wild Sculptural Interpretations of Margarita Sampson – Honey Funus
I have been shooting for Margarita for some years now and I am always pleasantly surprised with what she comes up with. I know that when she rings to book photography that I am going to encounter the next wonderfully weird, beautiful and strangely animated, creature she has given birth to.
This month was no exception. I met “Honey Fungus” in all it’s glory of gaping orange deliciousness. Honey Fungus’ friend looks a bit overwhelmed, I must say. I always enjoy getting to know her little creatures as I click away. For a look at more of Margarita’s work, click here.
Hansen Yuncken together with Waterways are really stepping up the pace on the wharf up-grade roll-outs. I shot another wharf this month. The Abbotsford Wharf up-grade was opened to the public…so I ventured along the Parramatta River to an idyllic location for a ferry terminal at the end of Great North Road. I really like the design of these new wharfs….in my opinion they look slick. Here’s a few shots from the shoot….
Well there’s a few highlights from my month. Please get in touch if you have any questions or queries on email@example.com
I feel it’s time for another blog post as a quick up-date about what has been happening in the world of John McRae Photography.
So here are some of the highlights from the past month.
I photographed the amazing mezzo-soprano Claire Munting. I was commissioned to capture some portraits of this wonderful wonderful, vibrant woman and her family last year on location in a park in Balmain. Following this, Claire asked me to shoot a new profile and stage promotional images aligned to her career as an opera singer and her numerous recitals and concerts.
Claire suggested that she would like to be photographed against some kind of industrial background to create tension and contrast to what is generally accepted as the more conservative classical music world. Cockatoo Island, Carriageworks and the Newtown Tram Depot were mooted as suggested possible locations. But in the end, it turned out that the perfect location was just below my studio in a warehouse section of the building….much more convenient.
Here is one of the images from the shoot.
With all the development going on in Sydney I am regularly being asked to shoot architectural projects. Often I am brought in only at the very end of the project, usually in the small window of time between the completion of the construction and the handover to the client… however, jobs go overtime or the windows simply don’t exist, but you still need to make it work.
I continue to shoot wharf up-grades for Hansen Yuncken. I will probably do a whole post dedicated to these projects one day….I find the re-designs appealing and I have been shooting them, one after another, for several years now. The latest addition to the list is the new Birchgrove Wharf. See below:
I have also captured the Stockland Green Hill shopping centre in Maitland as well as the new and very slick Duo Residential complex, part of the massive development at Broadway (opposite UTS). Both are commissioned by Multiplex Constructions Australasia. The Duo is the latest in inner-city residential living, an incredibly convenient place to live if you were studying at UTS, just across the road.
Also on the topic of building development, I shot for Re-Form Construction. They had dug a pretty hefty hole in the backyard of a Balmain property to prepare the site for a cement pour. I got a few shots of the Re-Form team and the hole before it disappeared under the concrete.
And to finish off on the construction theme…not exactly construction, but related…was a series of interiors I shot forMaisonnets. Maisonnets is a company that manages property rentals….a bit like Airbnb. The following images are from an afternoons shoot in the Hawkesbury region.
It’s a Dog’s World
I also had a wonderful afternoon shooting a series of of portraits of personality-rich dogs. I was shooting for Hamish McBeth manufacturers of dog clothing and apparel.
Here’s a shot of one of my handsome models, sporting one of Hamish McBeth’s dog coat…..
My month always comprises of a number of portrait shoots, and May was no exception. Here are a couple of recent subjects….
Minnie Cooper and her Team
I regularly shoot for entertainers who require promotional images for their up-coming shows. Here is a shot depicting Minnie Cooper and her team, working on a “Marie Antoinette” theme…..
I did a grand-scale shoot for the Sydney luminary Drag Queen, Vanity Fair. She is involved in organising an evening at the Pullman Hotel in Sydney and they required some suitably grand images for posters and advertising. Here’s one of the shots….
Lastly, I shot for Lena Kasparian. She is a young dress designer who is making a name for herself in the competitive world of fashion. So we devised a look-book shoot with a difference. In this instance there was the television production team for 60 minutes in my studio, with cameras and sound equipment. They were interested in aspects of Lena’s world, and they were taping for an up-coming episode of 60 minutes, based on her current life. I can’t wait until the program is broadcast to see what my studio looks like on television. Here are some shots from that day…..
Five months ago, in early November 2017, Dan and Verity said “I do”. They tied the knot on the weekend just prior to the mammoth announcement of the plebiscite on marriage equality in Australia. The ceremony and reception took place in a picturesque paddock at the foot of Mount Victoria, in the Blue Mountains, N.S.W. Dan and Verity specifically asked their guests to dress in a single colour of their choice. Their intention was to stage a group photograph of themselves with all their guests, positioned loosely in the colours of the rainbow.
My shot is not only a document affirming this joyful event at which Dan and Verity were free to commit their love and support for each other in front of their friends and family, it is also an expression of Dan and Vertiy’s solidarity with their LGBTQI brothers and sisters on the issue of marriage equality. This group portrait even heralds an early celebration of the positive outcome that everyone was hoping for.
I entered this photo in the 2018 Moran Contemporary Photography Prize, since for me, it follows the Moran’s mandate for images that interpret the changing reality of life in Australia today.
There I am, right up there with camera in hand! Finally, got the thrill of shooting Courtney Act (Global Ambassador for Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras) perched on the highest sail of the Opera House. Amazing experience! With limited time and tight technical restrictions you were more concentrated on getting the shot than taking in the remarkable view. However, it will be something I’ll remember for a long time to come. Courtney was the consummate professional and, as always, a joy to work with. Thanks to everyone involved in making the shoot happen, particularly the amazing staff at the Opera House for pulling all stops out to facilitate the shoot.
I had the best start to the morning, this morning.
I had to be at the stage door of the Opera House at 6.30am. Myself and a couple of comrades prepared ourselves for an exceptional climb. We were to view the location of a proposed shoot.
After weaving our bodies through the internal structure of one of the sails and along it’s spine, we squeezed through the last trapdoor to ascend upon the highest sail of the Opera House. As you climb out, the view almost takes your breath away.
It took a couple of minutes for the realisation that, “I’m on top of the sail of the Opera house…..outside!”, to sink in. How fabulous!!
Here’s a shot (below). I can’t wait for the shoot date!