Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lost 1950s Melbourne lives - our kitchen slideshow

On the weekend some friends came over. While our various offspring were busy rearranging the house, we had a slideshow with a borrowed projector and an intriguing box of slides my friend had bought on Ebay a couple of years before and had never gone through. They are largely from 1950s Melbourne. In the box are a series of developed prints of a man called Fred, a fashion illustrator judging by the work he's doing in them. On the back, a stamp from the photographic studio of Helmut Newton (the famous fashion photographer) and Henry Talbot. We set up the slide show in the darkest place we could find - the alcove above the oven in the kitchen. The slides are a record of a life - mainly Fred and his circles, as well as some pics of Melbourne and a lot of botanical shots. Fred would have been, in the lingo of the time, a 'confirmed bachelor', judging by the many shots of young, often shirtless young blokes. The slides are beautiful - well composed and well preserved, and their effect on the kitchen wall was quite eerie, like a visitation from another life. We have some ideas of who Fred was. He was, it seems, someone in Newton's fashion and art circles - a few of the slides were annotated in German, Newton and Talbot's mother tongues (they were German Jews whose families emigrated to Australia after WWII). Do you know who Fred might be?

We think this is looking out the back of Newton and Talbot's studio in Flinders Lane

Mankini, 1950s style

Easter show, prob Sydney

Hi Fred
Fred gets serious
Looks like Adelaide - art shows on North Terrace they used to have, with Govt House behind
Fred looks fetching in flower and sarong
Melbourne 1956 - note the Olympics decorations
This looks like Fitzroy maybe?


  1. that is art what your doing right there...I have recently moved to Geelong and have noticed quite a few ghost signs around the place. Will hook you up when I get a chance

    1. Hi and thanks. Keen to take a look in Geelong sometime.