Henry Talbot (photographer)
Henry Talbot, born Heinz Tichauer (6 January 1920, Germany – 1999) was a German-Australian fashion photographer noted for his long association with the Australian fashion industry, particularly the Australian Wool Board.
Life and career
Born in Germany to Jewish parents, he studied graphic design at the Reimann School in Berlin. Henry first travelled to London, England under pressure from rising tensions. There he worked as a window-dresser at a department store. After the 'Kristallnacht', Henry's father Max was detained, but having won the Iron Cross in WWI, Max was released, and subsequently Max and his wife fled to Bolivia.
In England, Henry was interned as a German National by two plain-clothes policemen and later shipped to Australia on the Dunera. During his internment in Hay in New South Wales, Henry practiced his artwork and studied in the camp 'university' established by the internees.
Upon release in 1942, Henry joined the Australian Army, in which he served until 1946, loading and unloading goods trains at the New South Wales / Queensland border, where he established a close personal friendship with fellow German refugee Helmut Newton. After the War Henry refreshed his studies of graphic design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Henry then visited his parents in Cochabamba, Bolivia, practicing art and reviving his pre-war interest in photography, winning a local photography prize.
Returning to Australia in 1950 Talbot worked as a photographer, setting up a Melbourne studio in 1956 with Helmut Newton. The studio specialised in fashion and advertising. During this time, Helmut declared to Henry that he was "going to move to Europe and become the greatest photographer in the world", and asked Henry if he would look after the studio in his absence. Henry agreed. Helmut left Australia permanently in May 1961, opting out of the informal partnership with Talbot (paid out with ‘two thousand dollars and two cameras’), and established himself in Europe while Henry took over the business of a company named Helmut Newton & Henry Talbot Pty Ltd which was formally registered as a company 28 June 1963 and operated at Bourke Street until April 1966, when it moved to La Trobe Street, operating until 1976.
Talbot photographed various Australian Olympic figures, including gold medallist Dawn Fraser in the Olympic pool in Melbourne during 1956; Franz Stampfl, whom he knew through the Hay internment and who trained Roger Bannister for his four-minute mile record; and Gael Newton. Other famous Australian models included Penny Pardey and Judy O'Connell, house models for Pierre Cardin, in 1967. During this period he was commissioned by the Australian Wool Board, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Kent Cigarettes and General Motors, among other brands.
Henry became Head of the Photography Department at the School of Art and Design at Preston (later Phillip) Institute of Technology, Melbourne (1973–1985), employing and teaching with Carol Jerrems, who also modelled for him. In 1972, Talbot jointly showed these images of Jerrems, including some nude portraits and figure studies, alongside the work of 23-year-old Jerrems', in 'Two Views of Erotica – Carol Jerrems & Henry Talbot', which was the inaugural exhibition of Rennie Ellis' Toorak gallery Brummels (Australia’s first dedicated photography gallery). The show was opened by photographer/filmmaker Paul Cox. Ellis, a notorious provocateur, selected Talbot and Jerrems to attract attention to the new gallery.
Talbot moved to Sydney with his wife (Lynette) and sons (Neale and John-Paul), in 1985.
His later projects included studies of the nude, portraits of prominent Australian Jews and also modernist architect Harry Seidler and revisiting the sites of the Holtermann photographs taken at and around the historic township of Hill End, located in the gold fields district of New South Wales.
Henry Talbot died in 1999 from cancer, shortly after revisiting the places of his youth in Europe.
Shortly after his death, the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) instituted the Henry Talbot Award for Services to the Photographic Industry.
- 1958 Fashion Photographer of the Year, Australian Fashion News
- 1963 C.S. Christian Trophy, Australian Photographic Society
- 1965 A.P.R. Achievement in Photography Award
- 1967 Award of Distinction, Pacific Photographic Fair
- 1968 Distinctive Merit Award, Art Directors Club of Melbourne
- Awarded E (Excellence) by Honours Committee of Federation internationale de l'Art Photographique.
- Details obtained from Public Record Office Victoria, Trading Company Registration Files, VPRS 932, unit 3406, file 57507.
- In an interview with Age, Robert Ashton, assistant director and cousin of the Ellis who died in 2003, suggested that Ellis ‘definitely thought about that first show. He chose Jerrems and Talbot on purpose. He chose them because… he wanted to stir up a bit of trouble.’