BRENDA, CALL ME!

One calm Friday morning in January, I walked onto a retro set which had been constructed at Sydney Props Specialists in Marrickville. I love this place. It’s like walking through the door of a “dressing cupboard” into a magical universe in a parallel dimension.

Vanity Fair and Courtney Act were putting the final touches to their make-up, as they were getting ready for their close-ups. I quickly set about constructing the lighting rig on the set so we could commence shooting. Playing the roles inspired by two friends in a 1980s chat show, Vanity and Courtney posed on the two main sets … one a “high-tech” office reception area with a huge desk-top computer and antiquated Eighties technology, and the other a pastel pink bedroom scene reminiscent of a Barbie boudoir.

These images are being used by NOVA Entertainment to promote their upcoming podcast by Vanity Fair and Courtney Act entitled “Brenda, Call Me” beginning on February 11. Here’s the promo blurb….

Drag sisters in crime, Courtney Act and Vanity have a new podcast: Brenda, Call Me! Friends for over twenty years, they’ve gone through it all together. Catch up with them each week as they let it all hang out discussing everything and nothing. It’s the Seinfeld of podcasts. Coming soon.

Vanity Fair
Drag sisters
Courtney Act

Inner Sydney High School – Completed

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A new concept in education has been completed in the suburb of Surry Hills, The Inner Sydney High School, not far from Central Station.

I have been tracing and documenting the progress of the new 11-story building over the past two years. I recently photographed the completed school building complex by Hansen Yuncken Pty Ltd. It incorporates the refurbished heritage-listed buildings which were part of the former Cleveland Street High School, with the towering expanses of the new structures. Throughout the final shoot, I kept asking myself why I wasn’t able to go to a school like this when I was young.

The old and the new…..

The features are amazing. The kids even have their own cappuccino machine, in what I presume is the “Home Science” area of this innovative school. A cappuccino machine!

See….cappuccino machine, left.

There are air-lifted basketball courts, high-rise dining and lounge areas, state-of-the-art facilities in all the learning spaces and “to-die-for” views in every direction, especially overlooking Prince Alfred Park and the skyscrapers on the city skyline. 

Basketball court with city views, overlooking Prince Alfred Park

Have a look at the video the Education Department has made…click here:

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LHAP – Liverpool Health & Academic Precinct

The Liverpool Health and Academic Precinct is a $740 million redevelopment of Liverpool Hospital and a new education and research hub. The redevelopment will provide Liverpool Hospital with expanded clinical services, public spaces and car parking, integrated with research and teaching.

I shot part of an initial phase of construction for Multiplex (the contractor on this phase), which features a temporary teaching centre for medical students and staff. Multiplex is also delivering a number of other projects, including a new kitchen facility, reconfiguration of several buildings and a car park.

Step Back in Time at the Beresford

“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:

Xenia Constructions builds a new Storage King in Minchinbury

Nowadays people need places to store things, especially if you are living in a small inner-city apartment. I have seen more and more storage facilities popping up in the city, sometimes in the most extraordinary places.

Xenia Constructions has built one such place … a new Storage King facility in Minchinbury, constructed as a state-of-the art warehouse in smart blue and white.

Interior of the warehouse showing the individual cubicles

So French So Chic

So French So Chic, the Potts Point based clothing retailer and wholesaler specialised in casual linen women’s wear asked me to stage and shoot their new range for the look-book and catalogue. We decided to use the timber deck of the yacht Drumfire moored in Rushcutter’s Bay as the perfect setting.

We then moved into the studio to complete the photos of the summer and autumn ranges, focusing on loose linen dresses, maritime inspired pants and large knit jumpers. Caro and Clara both did a fantastic job modelling the garments on the yacht and later in the studio for the look-book for So French So Chic, based in Potts Point, NSW. Additional items were presented and photographed on a “ghost mannequin”.

Caro and Clara model in studio for the look-book.
Ghost mannequin effect for the rest of the range.
Behind the scenes of the crew (not the crew of the boat) at work.

The Incomparable Bob Downe fronts the camera….again!

I have been photographing the legendary Bob Downe for many years now and I feel that I must comment on the fact that for some reason Bob never seems to age. See for yourself in the images from my latest shoot with this iconic stage, cabaret, theatre and television personality. Like many of his ilk, Bob never gives away his ageless grooming secrets, although in a recent post he did mention that he “sleeps in a rubber mould”. However, I suspect he was pulling our proverbial leg.

Bob was wearing some of the magnificent creations of Maude Boate.  Maude is one of the true originals of Australian drag, as well as an incredibly talented designer and dress-maker. Maude’s trademarked polystyrene wigs were adapted for the movie and stage-play, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Bob’s good friend and confidantMark Trevorrow  feels that Bob should be at Madame Tussauds. In his sequinned leisure suits, sometimes he almost looks like he is. (Incidentally Mark Trevorrow is performing on March 4 at Claire’s Kitchen at Le Salonin Oxford St, Darlinghurst). Others have described Bob as “naturally fabulous”, and “ageing like indestructible Tupperware”. All I can say is that I always have loads of laughs with Bob on every photo shoot in my studio. He’s a real pro and he makes my job so much easier, despite the highly flammable fabrics.

Check out the pink track suit!

New addition on Euston Road by Prime Projects

Near the Alexandria entrance to the newly opened M8 tunnel a dynamic new industrial landscape of warehouses and offices is emerging. Prime Projects (NSW) Pty Limited have just completed the repurposing and repositioning of an existing industrial asset for Goodman in Alexandria.

The development and construction project by Leffler Simes Architects with consulting engineers Triaxial and Sparks + Partners, includes the new facade and fit-out to 3 showrooms, new service infrastructure and service upgrades to the warehouse portion, as well as internal walls.

134 Euston Road, Alexandria by Prime Projects Pty Ltd

Prinnie Stevens in LADY SINGS THE BLUES

Finally the announcement has been made, and I’m excited to post the latest from Prinnie Stevens. Her one woman cabaret show is being staged as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival, 2021, and Prinnie will be performing at the Chamber at THE QUEENS from March 4-7.

Here’s what they say about LADY SINGS THE BLUES…..

A story about women in song, their hurts, struggles and pain whilst their beauty remains the same.

Featuring the songs of the greats such as Billie Holiday, Etta James, Nina Simone & Ella Fitzgerald along with the modern day voices of Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Beyonce and Sade you will be transported from the speak easy setting to the very heart of our Lady.

Prinnie as a woman of colour in Australia will tell these tales through her own eyes and experience.

We first met Prinnie on season one of The Voice where she battled best friend Mahalia Barnes and stopped Australia in it’s tracks. Prinnie then went on to star on the West End in Thriller Live in the UK as well performing in the Australasian Tour before returning to the stage back home in The Bodyguard and HAIR the Musical.

Prinnie during the shoot for her poster at my studio, with hair and make-up by the talented team of Joe and Drew.

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, Prinnie rarely sits still. It was a pleasure to work with Prinnie, Joe and Drew on the day of the shoot last November. I wish her all the success in the world and look forward to seeing her perform in Adelaide.  Tickets are on sale. Click the link.

©johnmcrae

Head shots for KPMG at Barangaroo

Recently I was working on a project on the 38th floor of International Tower 3 at the Barangaroo complex in Sydney, staging a series of head shots for KPMG.

KPMG is is one of the 4 big accounting firms, providing an international network of professional services. KPMG is a Anglo/Dutch merger of Klynveld Main Goerdeler (KMG) with the English firm, Peat Marwich, hence KPMG which was formed in 1987.

It was a great shoot that went very smoothly, assisted by the KPMG team. We set up quickly in one of the lofty meeting rooms with a spectacular, birds-eye view of the city and started with our first portrait.

We chose a direct and clean lighting set-up that could be duplicated by other photographer’s in different states. The participants were captured against a white paper background, suspended within the room.

Here are a few shots during the set up from the morning’s work.