Tag Archives: cars

Gazing wistfully at old magazines…

Now this isn’t about photography, though I guess it was driven by a nostalgia for the great picture magazines of the 1960s. Leafing through a 50-year-old copy of Look magazine (May 22, 1962) this morning, I became absorbed in a pictorial essay about Lenin, “The true story of the evil genius who launched the global Red threat”; then I put off the photo-editing chore that I had schedule by getting stuck in an op-ed piece by Senator Hubert Humphrey, “Big Business; Is it Too Big?”, and then procrastinated further with an article about a “secret” cure for arthritis (what happened to that secret cure?).

From the perspective of 2011, the cold-war dominated take on communism was fascinating; in hindsight Humphrey’s take on big business being the engine room of a healthy democracy (well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?) seems merely wishful thinking, in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis…and the one still looming.

But to me, the most absorbing aspect of this time-machine was the Madison Avenue, Mad Men style advertising of the day. The 1962 model Valiant marketed with a headline that reads, “Valiant-owned and operated by 364,000 independent Americans”. Motown magic! “Enjoy Life with Miller High Life; same good taste everywhere because it’s brewed only in Milwaukee…naturally“. Campbell’s Soups, “Why our soups look as good as they taste. They’re color-planned all the way from seed to simmer”>

However, the copy line of one ad just grabbed me by the throat for its lyrical quality. I must confess, this line has stuck in my head, ever since I bought the magazine in the St Vincent de Paul op shop in North Hobart, a year or two ago. I guess this is what good copywriting should do. But one has to wonder whether it resonates because of a filter of fifty years.

Pontiac ad, Look Magazine, May 22, 1962

Has copywriting ever aspired to such poetry? Who wrote this? An enthusiast of haiku? Did it sell Pontiacs? Did its author stick to his craft? Or move on to write the Great American Novel? Was he a she? So many questions…while I

Gaze wistfully

at passing Pontiacs

no more!

Now I reckon that’s powerful good copy And beautiful too!


Filed under art, Opinion

Those were the days…weren’t they?

Dr Geoffrey and Leanne Edelsten posing with their transport fleet

Dr Geoffrey and Leanne Edelsten with their transport fleet, Sydney, 1986

The 1980s; an era of wild excess.  In 1986, when I was assigned to photograph “medical entrepreneur”, Dr Geoffrey Edelsten, of the chandeliered, white grand piano chain of health clinics, I immediately got off on the wrong foot.

I asked the young blonde who came tripping down the grand staircase of his home, whether her father was in. Not ungraciously, she let me know that she was “Mrs Leanne Edelsten”. Oooops! So with foot still firmly clamped between my gritted teeth I was somewhat surprised when the doctor agreed to wheel out his cars and his helicopter for this portrait.

If you’d like to know more about the life and times of Dr Geoff, his collection of degrees and qualifications, his cars, his opinions and even his taste in music, you should visit his unbelievably modest website here.

While Leanne is now the ex-Mrs E, Dr Geoff is soon to add to his collection of blondes by marrying  25 year-old, Californian fitness instructor, Brynn Gordon (or maybe it’s Brynne Groden…the media can’t seem to make up it’s mind). Word is he is looking for a publisher to pick up the tab for the festivities in exchange for picture rights. No takers so far. Story and picture here.

If you’d like details of Dr Edelsten’s tailor, don’t email me, contact him.

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Filed under Australian, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, portraits, Rob Walls