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John McRae Photography & Studio – Page 2 – Sydney Professional, Commercial & Corporate Photography

“Sod-Turning” & smoking ceremony at Prestons in NSW

You may well ask….what is a “sod-turning”. I did. Well it is when a construction company starts work on a new project and the occasion is marked by a mound of dirt being turned ceremoniously with a shiny new shovel. This marks the beginning of the construction work on the site.

Aunty Gail

It is common to also include a smoking ceremony as a mark of respect to the traditional owners of the land with an Acknowledgement of Country. The smoking ceremony, according to the traditional owners, is a way of cleansing the area by smouldering native plants to create smoke which wards off any “bad” spirits and at the same time purifying the area both physically and spiritually. This is performed by an elder of the indigenous community. Today it was Aunty Gail. She was joined by Brandon and Jetsyn who were also part of the Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Hansen Yuncken (construction), One Five One (developer) and Chemcorp (client) celebrated the start of their new warehouse project at Prestons in NSW in mid-July. Their brand new warehouse will be completed by February 2023 and Chemcorp will have a state-of-the-art facility. The project involves construction of two new warehouses, with over 22,000m², designed to achieve a 5 Star Green Star rating.

Not So PG – Nova Podcast

Brooke Blurton and Matty Mills have joined forces to create a new podcast with Nova Entertainment called, Not So PG.

Each week Brooke and Matty will deliver an unfiltered version of their world and their experiences being part of the First Nations and LGBTIQ+ communities, while navigating mainstream media. 

Entrepreneur, influencer and reality TV icon Brooke Blurton and TV presenter and actor Matty Mills grew up without standard parental guidance. Not So PG is a podcast and guide for anyone who has pulled themselves up and taken control of their life. 

It was rewarding to meet both Brooke and Matty and to work with the NOVA team once again, plus the wonderful Ariela Dundovic (hair and makeup). To create promotional images for their podcast, we shot in my studio at Lilyfield, capturing a diverse series of images.


Sydney World Pride 2023

WorldPride is a global Pride celebration that in 2023 is coming to Sydney. Previous WorldPride celebrations include the first in Rome in 2000, New York in 2019 marking 50 years of the Stonewall uprising, and Copenhagen in 2021 celebrating both WorldPride and the EuroGames. 

As part of the early ticket marketing of the event, the organisers arranged a photoshoot at my Lilyfield studio. My brief was to capture a diverse selection of individuals who could communicate the joy and vibe of this unique celebration. In doing so the models including Sveta, Faustina, Jules, Maria, Paul & Johnny and Sina, help to motivate both Sydney-siders and the international public to attend one or several of the line-up of events.

From left to right: Milo, Faustina, Matty, Jules, Maria & Sam

It was a vivacious day with great energy. The studio was humming with creativity … from stylist Hannah Cooper with her racks of clothes and accessories, to the vast array of colours splayed out on the table by make up artist Yvonne Trans. The team from MC Saatchi watched the results unfold on the computer screen while coffee and sandwiches arrived at appropriate moments. It was inspiring to be part of a team completely focused on creating the best possible results.

Sydney WorldPride events will take place from February 17 until March 5, 2023. The official Opening Ceremony will take place on February 24. Other events include a First Nations Gathering Space, a game-changing Human Rights Conference, an unforgettable Pride March across the Sydney Harbour Bridgea closing ceremony and a sensational party on Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach (plus many more events still to be announced)!

For more information visit: Sydney World Pride

Sina, Frankie, Melissa, Sveta, Paul & Johnny & Jules

Le Coq – Your Kitchen Rules!

Le Coq is a traditional French restaurant just down the road from my studio in Darling Street, Rozelle. It serves uncomplicated, traditional French food, which is absolutely delicious, specializing in anything to do with chicken.

David Poirrier, the owner, approached me to create some images for a campaign that the restaurant is running during the month of July called: YOUR KITCHEN RULES. Le Coq has decided to open up their kitchen to non-professional chefs (especially significant for those souls who had FOMO on MKR). The idea is that you can “take over” part of the restaurant, kitchen and staff to cook and host a culinary event for your family and friends.

There’s a special menu that you can choose from and you’ll be guided through the preparation of the various dishes. For more information visit: https://www.lecoqrotisserie.com.au/events

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.

Charles Cooper – Australian Artist

I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at the studio of the Australian artist, Charles Cooper. Charles is a long standing professional artist of high repute.

Charles has started an exciting project of producing a monograph of his work and required some additional photography for pieces he wanted to include.

I must admit I am really into the “surface” of painting and the surfaces of Charles’ paintings are lush and seductive which does it for me.

Charles has a long standing relationship with Annandale Galleries and his work can be seen if you click on the link.

Anglicare, Minto – an update

I recently returned to Anglicare Minto Gardens where I had shot a number of images for Hansen Yuncken of their build for this sprawling retirement facility in the western suburbs of Minto.

The first shoot I concentrated on the exteriors however this time it was all about the recently completed interiors. The Hansen Yuncken business development team required shots of the interiors which could accompany presentations that may make in the future for related work.

Creating a mobile studio for Multiplex head-shots

Producing multiple head-shots can be both a challenge and a rewarding exercise. It is challenging in the sense that you have limited time available with each subject and within that short time frame you must capture the best possible photograph of that person. Part of the task is to make the person feel relaxed and confident in front of the camera. Every photographer has his or her own individual “bag of tricks” to make sure that this happens. I enjoy this challenge as much as I like the chance to meet the many diverse human faces behind the organisation you are working for … from the personal assistants to the senior executives. You have the privilege of photographing a vast range of people, although you don’t always know their professional roles within the company . While the days can be long, they are, at the same time, invigorating.

I recently completed the task of updating head-shots and corporate portraits of Multiplex employees. It was a complex job spanning numerous days over a period of months, based on setting up a series of mobile studios in different offices in Sydney. 

SFI Health – time for a new look

SFI Health is a global natural health care company working to market and develop natural biochemical solutions for the complex needs in the areas of microbiome and cognitive health.

I was commissioned to capture a series of head shots in their Sydney offices at St Leonards as well as to capture shots of the team in various locations within the building. The imagery is part of their global marketing direction to use a combination of different coloured backgrounds to create a cool point of difference.

Cherry, Katia & Nadia step into the studio

Nadia, Katia and Cherry photographed in one of their extravagant performance costumes

It was an afternoon of colour and movement in my Sydney studio photographing the three Thai beauties Nadia, Katia and Cherry. These hard-working showgirls make up a dedicated trio who entertain across the country in clubs and entertainment centres, performing with Las Vegas glitz and Hollywood glamour. 

Coming out of lockdown hibernation, the girls required some new, beguiling imagery for their upcoming performances. Filled with costumes, feathers and diamantes, my studio was like a backstage dressing room and performance space for Mardi Gras. Setting up the shoot was a lot of fun.

Cherry, Katia and Nadia