Laurence Le Guay

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Laurence (Laurie) Craddock Le Guay (25 December 1916 – 2 February 1990), was an Australian fashion photographer.


Laurence Craddock Le Guay was born on 25 December 1916 at Chatswood Sydney, of locally born parents Charles Sidney Le Guay, company secretary, and Doris Alma Le Guay, née Usher.


Le Guay’s schoolboy hobby of photography[1] was encouraged by Harold Cazneaux[2] and from 1935, at age eighteen, he worked as an assistant at Dayne portrait studio, before opening his own studio in Martin Place in 1937, to concentrate on illustrative[3] and fashion photography.[4] He joined the Pictorialist Sydney Camera Circle in 1940 and exhibited with them at various national and international photographic salons. He began producing photomontage work of a more Surrealist style around the contemporary theme of the Machine Age and incorporating the heroic nude, most significant being The Progenitors (1938). Many of these became illustrations in the newly founded Man: The Australian magazine for men.[5][6][7] Consequently, in November 1938 he was invited by Max Dupain and Olive Cotton to join them in forming The Contemporary Camera Groupe with others including Douglas Annand, Harold Cazneaux, Damien Parer, Cecil Bostock and Russell Roberts. The Groupe proclaimed themselves as Modernist, seceding from Pictorialism, and the youngest members were, like Le Guay, commercial photographers. They were inspired by a new image of the body, Australian in that it referred to sun-worshipping beach culture, health and vitality.[8]

War service and later fashion photography[edit]

One of Le Guay's photografies on Toulon, after its battle.

Le Guay enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force in 1940, serving as a photographer in the Mediterranean (1941–43) and the Middle East (1943–45). Demobilised in Sydney in January 1946, Le Guay founded Contemporary Photography, the first Australian photographic magazine not published by a photo supply firm, and taught photography. He set up studio that year in George Street, then in the old Smith’s Weekly building, moving, in 1947, to a partnership with John Nisbett on Castlereagh Street. They were among the first in Australia to use outdoor locations[9] for fashion photography.[10]

In 1947-48, after producing a film on Sydney Harbour Bridge, he joined the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition,[11] and also photographed for the Australian Geographical Society, with one photograph shot in New Guinea[12] included by Edward Steichen in The Family of Man exhibition in New York in 1955, which toured the world to reach the largest audience of any photographic exhibition since.

Le Guay continued to be a significant international, and Sydney's leading, fashion photographer throughout the 50s and 60s,[13] rivalling Athol Shmith in Melbourne.[14][15] The Le Guay/Nisbett studio was joined in 1961 by David Mist. Born in London, Mist trained and worked in the UK, so augmented his partners' acquired European élan, and further enlivened the burgeoning local industry.[16]

Contributions as writer and editor[edit]

Le Guay closed his studio on Castlereagh Street, Sydney in 1970, to concentrate on publishing books on his photography, editing Australian Photography magazine publications: Australian Photography 76 (1977) and Australian Photography - a contemporary view (1978), giving lectures, and also taking up deepwater sailing.[17]

He died on 2 February 1990 survived by Ann Warmington, whom he had married 22 July 1948 and divorced in 1967, and one daughter.


  • Le Guay, Laurence (1949). A Portfolio of Australian photography. H.J. Edwards, Sydney
  • Le Guay, Laurence & Slessor, Kenneth, 1901-1971 (1966). Sydney Harbour. Angus & Robertson, Sydney
  • Le Guay, Laurence & Falkiner, Suzanne (1980). Australian Aborigines : Shadows in a landscape (1st ed). Globe Publishing, Sydney[18]
  • Le Guay, Laurence (1975). Sailing free : around the world with a blue water Australian. Ure Smith, Sydney
  • Le Guay, Laurence (1976). Australian photography 1976. Globe, Sydney
  • Le Guay, Laurence (1978). Australian photography : a contemporary view. J. H. Coleman, Globe Publishing, Sydney


  1. ^ Miles, M. (2013). Light, Nation, and Place in Australian Photography. Photography and Culture, 6(3), 259-277. Chicago
  2. ^ Geeves, P., Cazneaux, H., & Newton, G. (1980). Philip Geeves Presents Cazneaux's Sydney, 1904-1934. David Ell Press. Chicago
  3. ^ Lydon, J. (2009). Photography and Australia (review). Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, 10(1). Chicago
  4. ^ Bonnie English, Liliana Pomazan (2010). Australian Fashion Unstitched: The Last 60 Years Cambridge University Press, pages 7, 65
  5. ^ Kuttainen, Victoria. A Lost Australian Story: Man in the 1930s online at[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ White, Richard. "The Importance of Being Man." Australian Popular Culture. Ed. Peter Spearritt and David Walker. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1979.
  7. ^ Ray, Greg. "Man Magazine: the Australian Publishing Icon Published by K.G. Murray." Online.
  8. ^ Crombie, I. L. (1999). Body culture: Max Dupain and the social recreation of the body, c. 1919-1939. University of Melbourne doctoral thesis.
  9. ^ Maynard, M. (2008). The Fashion Photograph: an ‘Ecology’. Fashion as Photograph, 54. Chicago
  10. ^ Eugenie Shinkle (Ed.) (2008) Fashion as Photograph: Viewing and Reviewing Images of Fashion, I.B.Tauris, pps.52-63
  11. ^ P. Law, The Antarctic Voyage of HMAS Wyatt Earp, 1995
  12. ^ APA Dupont, S. (2012). Raskols (Postcards from the Rim). Chicago Dupont, Stephen. "Raskols (Postcards from the Rim)." (2012).
  13. ^ Ennis, H. (2004). Intersections: photography, history and the National Library of Australia. National Library Australia. Chicago
  14. ^ McNeil, Peter, 1966- & Karaminas, Vicki & Cole, Cathy, 1950- (2009). Fashion in fiction : text and clothing in literature, film and television (English ed). Berg, New York p.67
  15. ^ Helen Ennis (2004). Intersections: Photography, History and the National Library of Australia. National Library Australia, p.209
  16. ^ AUSTRALIA, I. (2010). FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY. Australian Fashion Unstitched: The Last 60 Years, 59. Chicago
  17. ^ Le Guay, Laurence (1975). Sailing free : around the world with a blue water Australian Ure Smith, Sydney
  18. ^ Bell, D. (1980). Australian Aborigines, Shadows in a Landscape [Book Review]. Aboriginal History, 4, 230. Chicago