I think these photos were taken for a PR exercise for Shirley and the image below appeared in the Prahran/Malvern local press. Like all my ‘commercial’ assignments they were opportunities to make more personal work, some of which ended up in my class portfolios.
While I was still a student at RMIT I had been making images for Shirley’s record covers (which I mentioned here) since we had Studio 3 above the Crest Record offices in Tooronga. I can’t remember her manager’s name but he brought other groups and singers, to have what must have been, very cheap for him, promotional stills taken.
I was a bit conflicted about putting these up as there are some confronting images of the residents at the old people’s home and I worried about them being invasive. The argument that the residents are not around anymore and their families will never see these makes it just a problem for me, and this online archive is about source materials I don’t want to lose or forget.
I’ve shared the pictures of Shirley with her daughters who contacted me on Facebook (of course) and they were grateful as they had few pictures of her when they were children. Some of the looks Shirley gives me in the photographs, suggests we both knew something confronting was going on, but the warmth of her interaction of the old man with the hearing aid, and the nurse (nun?) comforting the distressed woman by the window are a balance for me. I remember being impressed by the caring staff.
Years later when I was working with, I think, Rob Imhoff in the RIP Studios in Prahran we used to take the excess food from the tabletop shoots we did (I remember a lot of cheese once) to Villa Maria for the residents.