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John McRae Photography & Studio – Page 14 – Sydney Professional, Commercial & Corporate Photography

Jonathan Turner’s – Mardi Gras!

My dear friend Jonathan Turner dropped me an e-mail following the recent Mardi Gras event in Sydney.

I just had to publish his synopsis of events, as follows:


10 Mardi Gras Highlights from Jonathan Turner

Sadly, the 37th Mardi Gras is over, and all the recovery parties have now been mopped-up and vacuumed. Each year, there are numerous festive signifiers, demonstrating how all of Sydney really does become Mardi Gras in early March. Here are some events we witnessed in 2015.

1. Bunnings warehouse in Alexandria jam-packed with power-tool poofs and handyman dykes buying hardware for expert float construction.

2. Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” played at high-volume over the loudspeakers of Woolworth’s in Double Bay on Friday afternoon.

3. Mimi the “mermaid” having an aquatic-themed birthday party at Sea Breeze fish’n’chip shop in Darling Street, Rozelle, complete with bubble machines, deejay Garry Tee playing deep oceanic music, and various guests dressed as lobsters, pirates, flotsam, “jelly-fish bitches” (the obligatory Maltese Joseph, Nigel, Ivan plus Paolo), Bondi life-savers, Helen as the Bermuda Triangle, Cameron as the Muff Diver, and some idiot as a blue-ringed octopus.

4.  Policemen in couples cruising/patrolling the dance-floor at the Harbour Party, then a huge police RBT line-up breath-testing outbound motorists on post-Mardi Gras Monday morning at 10 o’clock on Victoria Road just after the Anzac Bridge (10 a.m. on Monday! – who says the police aren’t targeting the “gays”?).

5. The Olympic trampolinist Ji Wallace “surfing” his chauffeur-driven convertible up Oxford Street ahead of all the out-and-proud sports royalty, footballers, Australian star athletes and their allies, who participated in the Parade.

6. The hedonistic parade-goers including futuristic gladiators, the legendary Ron Muncaster, a Kim Jong-Un impersonator on a jizzing golden tank battling against an army of zombies, a lone, perfect  hibiscus flower, plus the hilarious and mega-munted group of equestrian girls on their hobbie-horses, frequently galloping in the totally wrong direction.

7. Kylie standing on her tip-toes at the side of the dance-floor, taking snaps of her little sister Dannii performing on stage at the RHI.

8. Mardi Gras saving the best for last: the closing sets at the Mardi Gras Party by deejay Mike Kelly from Cologne at the Hordern Pavilion, the impeccably pink-haired Kate Monroe playing at the outdoor arena at dawn and the slick, tight and fluoro-glow finale performance at the RHI by Betty Who.

9. All the bears at North Bondi, cordoning off a special nursery-rhyme area on the sand with white picket fences and pink flamingos, then kissing like Goldilocks much to the amazement of the families from Lakemba and Linfield.

10. Overheard at Woof Recovery at Arq: “Those guys are so old that they dance the YMCA in lower-case.”


How to turn adorable David’s fish and chip shop in Rozelle into an instant Mardi Gras venue.

1. Install bubble machines, Mimi the mermaid, lifesavers and a blue-ringed octopus as catch of the day.

2. Dueling Mardi Gras deejays Garry Tee (Kuala Lumpur) and Mike Kelly (Cologne) on the decks.

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Mimi celebrating her 40th at David’s Fish & Chip Shop (SeaBreeze, Darling St, Rozelle) with Life Savers and Jonathan Turner as “The Octopussy”

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Gary T (Malaysia) and Mike Kelly (Cologne, Germany) on the tables at Mimi’s 40th


I just happened to be in front of the Seymour Centre on the weekend.  Matthew Mitcham was in the vicinity and couldn’t help get up to a few antics in front of his rather large poster promoting his season of Sydney Shows (See below)


By the way…..go and see one of the shows this week!  It’s a very entertaining evening and Matt is brilliant.  Who better to play Matthew Mitcham in a cabaret show than Matthew Mitcham!


Twists and Turns

Seymour Centre, Cleveland St

Thursday 26, Friday 27 and Saturday 28 February, 2015

Book Now ph 02 9351 7940



“It’s a cover up!”


Who says Matt doesn’t love himself…LOL




Circa AD Shoot

This week saw us down in Rushcutters Bay for a jewellery shoot with Circa AD Jewellery.  It was a beautiful summer morning and we were shooting in a fab apartment over looking the water and boats.  What more could you want.  The shoot went well and we got the shot.


However, the fantastic stylist on the day, Mr Jonathan Turner, couldn’t help get into a few of the frames as he meticulously rearranged the set, ready for the shot.  Of course, I didn’t hesitate to keep pushing that shutter button as you can see in the shots below.  We worked with Cheryl Stevns who was our consummate model, together with Claudia Yamyang, the delightful and brilliant make-up artist.



There’s Jonathan……..



There’s Jonathan again….what’s he reading?



There’s Jonathan…….again!



and there’s Jonathan again………..




I often shoot for Slide, a cabaret performance space that does amazing food, in the throbbing heart of Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.  They create amazing performances under the direction of the talented musician and artistic director, Jeremy Brennan.


This recent shoot in my studio in Rozelle was, however, rudely interrupted by a four legged intruder.  The seasoned talent took this intrusion totally in their stride without missing a beat.  I’ve included some shots as proof, below.


Check out one of the nights at Slide (41 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, ph 02 8915 1899)


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The intruder in question with a “Fat Man”



The “Fat Man” being re-positioned and tidied by the trusty stylist, Jonathan Turner.


Last week I shot for the magazine, Mindfood.  This was my second shoot with these guys.  I enjoyed the day totally.  It was a great team with hair by Dan McLennan, make-up by Andrea Black, and the fashion editor was Emma Wood.


We shot in the studio of Neil Frazer (just referred to as Frazer).  He’s a talented NZ born, Australian artist who shows with Martin Browne Fine Art, one of Australia’s leading contemporary commercial galleries.  It was so cool to be surrounded by all his art work and just to be in that kind of creative space.


I shot Frazer in his studio and I also shot a colleague, Viola Raikhel-Bolot.  Viola, although not an artist, is a top level art advisor.  We had a lot of fun and worked hard for most of the day on creating some interesting and engaging images for the magazine.


I’m looking forward to the winter edition when it comes out on the shelves.  Buy a copy!



Here’s me in the middle of shooting Viola for one of the shots……..



Fabulous creative space, as you can see.  The man looking very heroic is Darren Lee, Mindfood Artistic Director.



The very beautiful Viola in make-up with Andrea Black



Frazer and I having a laugh in between takes………….


I photograph regularly for a very dynamic cosmetic company called “Benefit”.  Some of you may know them.  They are unique among the big brand cosmetic companies in that they do no standard advertising (ie print, billboards, television etc).  All their marketing is social media based and they happen to be one of the leading brands in Myers.  I find this very interesting.  Their reach is directly to the general public via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc, and to the major bloggers.


It kind of reminds me that I should perhaps be paying more attention to the importance of social media, by blogging and posting stuff more diligently than I do.  But you know how it is…..all that takes time and when you’re busy shooting and preparing images, the last thing your thinking about is how you must post an up-date on the web.  LOL


Here’s some photos of a couple of examples of the initiatives they come up with in order to get the word out.  I was asked to photograph 2 unusual Yoga events.  One took place at the level of the look-out at Centre Point Tower and the other took place in front of the huge fish tank, sharks swimming by, at the Aquarium.  Who would of thought….yoga with the sharks….although they do yoga at Bondi Beach and that’s pretty close to a few sharks.


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And now for the Aquarium…………


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Follow them on Instagram if you think you’d like to participate in Benefits next round of “wild” things to do!



Vivid New Colour!

This week at “John McRae Photography” will see the continuation of filming of “Dr Martin”, directed by Wahn Sulli.

The studio space will be converted into the home and studio of one of the characters in the film, a young photographer…apparently.

In preparation of the set we see Dot, a trusty artist who has a studio space in another part of the building, working on painting the walls.  (pictured below



The colours are quite a dramatic change from the stark white we are all used to.   I used the opportunity to snap a few images of a group of my friends on the weekend.  We had gathered in the studio to play a round of cards.  Knowing that this colour scheme will be quite temporary I wanted to document the experience and asked them to pose.  Here is Lachlan, Jonathan, Matt and Rob.




No rest for the wicked!  Even though I was technically on holidays, over Xmas I agreed to do a job for a few cool performers that I have worked with before.

I took the job because they’re great fun to work with and at the same time, very professional in their approach.

The task on hand was to loosely re-create the “Death Becomes Her” poster image for a new drag show these guys were about to launch at Stonewall in Oxford St, Darlinghurst.

Below is a shot of the guys together during the shoot……


Well the poster is ready and the show is about to launch on a Friday night at Stonewall.

See the final result below and go along and have a look at what these guys are capable of…..



Matthew Mitcham 2014 Portrait

The end of the year is fast approaching and I’m confronting last minute jobs to be done, absolutely before the end of the year.  Rationally, I know it’s just another day….but there’s this burning urge to finish certain tasks, leaving them in the year 2014, so that I may have a clean slate to start the New Year, a fresh.

One of those matters is the annual portrait of Matthew Mitcham.  I have been documenting Matthew for quite a few years now, almost 9.  Wow, how time flies!  At some point in the year I ask Matt to sit for a formal portrait for the purpose of adding a new image to the line up.

This portrait takes the form of a cropped head shot.  It is shot in a similar fashion each year, without being clinically precise in it’s recreation as I want to leave a small margin for variation and creative interpretation. So a few days before the New Year I am releasing the 2014 version of this series (pictured below).  For the whole series see the main web site under the tab, “Exhibition”.




MMXIV, 2014, Pigment inkjet on cotton rag, 112cm x 78cm, Edition of 9 (2AP)

Boys will be boys!

Tuesday evening in Rozelle…..

Getting the lights set for the next photo shoot in the studio.

This time it’s 3 of the boys that form part of the regular entertainment at ARQ.   Little X and Ivy League are among them.

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I always enjoy these crazy shoots.  When they walk in, I’m never sure what they will end up looking like…what costume they devised this time round….will they need the wind machine again (some of them love using that bloody wind machine).

But we always come up with something good and I always have fun shooting for the latest poster and waiting to see what the talented Richard Hughes comes up with for the final poster.


I wish someone would give me a new car!

Lucky Daly Cherry-Evans, the young Sea Eagles football star, received a brand new BMW-X5 as part of a new partnership between “Royale Limousines” and the “Sea Eagles”.

I was asked to capture the moment for Royale Limousines.


I asked myself….“why don’t I get given a new car by someone?”  I was very pleased for the young footballer, who by all accounts, deserved such a reward for his on field prowess.  Daly was accompanied by his partner and 5 week old new addition to the family.


The Last 5 Weeks

From Shanghai I found myself 4 days in Sydney….before I flew off to NYC

So the last 5 weeks I have been working and enjoying the Big Apple with a quick trip to London in between.

Here are some shots of this wonderful city……..

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Shanghai – Update!

Hello Hello,


Well another week has passed!  And boy, did it pass quickly.  I am now on the home stretch with only little more than a week to go.


The teaching classes have been fantastic, with the kids moving well in terms of their understanding of photography and their willingness to take risks and find out what they can do.


We plan to have a small exhibition at the end of the week and invite all the parents into the centre for a bit of a look and some nibbles.  That’s going to put a bit of pressure on the interpreter.  LOL.



When we’re not in the class situation our time is spent traveling around to the various galleries and exhibitions that are on in Shanghai at the moment.  The art scene here seems very vibrant and relatively open.  I have seen some brilliant work here by various artists and marvel at the relative freedom these guys have to pursue their work.  Firstly, they seem to take enormous risks in terms of what they are willing to pursue….many of them change style and subject as they would change their clothes, allowing themselves the freedom to pursue new ideas without considering how the market will respond.  I like this approach.  You may say that these Chinese artists have less of a free voice, with censorship present on every level of Chinese society……however, I seem to think this small barrier to absolute freedom of speech is surmounted easily and confidently by the artists who’s work I have seen, by innuendo, satire and irony.  The censorship merely forces the artists to become more creative and subtle in the way they approach the subject or comment they wish to make….the comment is still made!  Secondly, with China’s amazing industrial might, the artists here have access to materials and labour that may have been prohibitive to other artists elsewhere.  They can also not limited by scale.

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Arts Can Do – Shanghai

Well…..It’s been a while since my last post.  However, I am writing from Shanghai!

What a blast this place is, just what the doctor ordered for a change of scenery and what a change of scenery.

I am here on an art residency program sponsored by ACAF (The Australia China Art Foundation), based in Melbourne and Shanghai and run by a wonderfully inspired Chinese lady called Yashian Shauble.  I am over here in Shanghai for one month and I am teaching photography to disadvantaged kids and 3 different schools.


So for I am loving it!  The children, as you can well imagine, are amazing.  Even though it is, at times, exhausting working with young kids, they take so much……but they also give back so much more.  This exchange is beautiful and you never really mind.  Although, I don’t think I have the stamina to have chosen teaching as a profession.  I have a lot more respect for those worthy professionals now!!


Below are some shots of various classes.  I’ll keep posting as I go along.  This will be the first post of many….or so I intend!  LOL

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Matthew Mitcham and Medals

Matt Mitcham dropped in to my studio the other night…..in hand was his latest stash of medals.  The best one was the gold, of course and Matt was deservedly happy and proud of his achievements.  I decided to snap a few shots……..


_MG_2384Looking good!  Congratulations Matt!




Fabien & Adil in Jerusalem
Fabien & Adil in Jerusalem

“If I am not for myself who is for me?  And being for my own self, what am ‘I’?  And if not now, when?”  Hillel 110BCE – 10CE

Shooting on the Sails of the Opera House

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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.

On the Sails of the Opera House

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!

What a wonderful way to start the morning.....
What a wonderful way to start the morning…..