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IAN POOLE photographer: eulogy

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Poole by Poole 2006

 

IAN POOLE photographer: eulogy by Doug Spowart

 

I was over in Wellington New Zealand attending the Photobook NZ conference when our mutual friend Simon Woolf came to tell me that Ian had passed away. Vicky and I had visited Ian and Louise at the Mater Hospital a couple of weeks ago and while Ian was in a difficult place we shared some past experiences. We spoke excitedly about how Ian came out of hospital recently to open ‘Floating’ at Woolloongabba Art Gallery. It was an important occasion as the exhibition featured work by his long-term friends Glen O’Malley and Yoshiteru Asai as well as artworks by Yayu, Ken Yamane’s grand-daughter.

 

Ian Poole, Glen, Ruby, Asai, Joe and Doug at the opening of Floating

 

Ian Poole and I shared quite a chunk of history – On hearing the news whatever I was to do that day in Wellington, and my flight home to Brisbane, my thoughts were with Ian, Louise, Nicola and Denise. What follows is a fragment of our connections and things that I remember about the guy…

 

Pinhole portrait of Ian Poole 1993 by Doug Spowart

 

My earliest memory of Ian was in the mid 1970s when I met him as an employee of Kodak in Brisbane. Ian had formed a commercial photography partnership with Greg Minns and I served him in my early sales position behind a wholesale warehouse counter in the Fortitude Valley head office. Over time I was to learn of Ian’s pre-commercial work as a part-time wedding photographer for some of Brisbane’s significant studios.

Ian Poole went out on his own in 1976 with the business name ‘Ian Poole does Photography’. He shared a studio in an old church in Warren Street, Fortitude Valley with commercial photographer and AIPP devotee and then Federal President David McCarthy. From there good wine, cigars and Fiats were funded through a diverse range of commercial commissions.

Ian and Denise were married and soon after Nicola was born. A long-term relationship with documentary/art photographer Glen O’Malley strengthened along with his interest in photography beyond the ‘job’ – for him photography was more than just what you did to earn a living.

 

Ian Poole and the IAP and the AIPP

Ian joined the Institute of Australian Photography (now AIPP) in 1975. An interesting bit of information about Ian is that he entered the very first Merit Awards (APPA) in 1977, and was awarded a Merit for a high contrast photo of a fuzzy hairstyled, seated, saxophone player. I remember that photo well.

In reflection, I always remember Poole being involved with the AIPP in some capacity either at state division level and in the late 1980s on the National Board. During the 1980s I served with Ian on the Queensland Divisional Council and remember many council meetings at Imagery Gallery that finished with us discussing the meaning of life and photography. Together, we also contributed to the development of education and training for photography in Queensland and served on many Arts Industry Advisory Council and Curriculum development committees.

 

Anonymous Torsos exhibition at Imagery Gallery 1990

Early exhibitions of his work

His interest in personal photography, and in particular the female nude, led to his work being presented in exhibitions. In 1984 I curated an exhibition entitled ‘5 One man shows’ in Stephens Gallery in the Brisbane City Hall, which included a selection of Ian’s nudes. Later in 1990 his first solo exhibition ‘Anonymous Torsos’, was held in Imagery Gallery (a gallery run by myself and my mother Ruby). He also participated in many group shows in galleries in Australia and Japan.

 

Doug Spowart and Ian Poole with the poster for Shot from down under    PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

The Japanese connection

Ian made connections with Japanese photographers through his co-ordination of AIPP events in the early 1980s. This led to an exhibition of 13 photographers organised by Ian and hosted by artist Rick Everingham in his Brisbane studio during Expo 88. Poole followed up this exhibit with an exchange show, ‘A shot from down under’ at Design Expo in Nagoya, Diacolo Gallery in Osaka and amazingly in the Kodak Salon, the Ginza, Tokyo. Ian coordinated a tour for the participating Queensland photographers who spent about 3 weeks in Japan travelling with the exhibition, attending the openings, staying with the Japanese photographer’s families and experiencing Japanese life and landscape.

 

Poole+Spowart at QCP: Photo Adam Finch

Working for the Queensland Government

By the early 90s photography was changing and the Queensland Government reviewed all their departments that had employed staff photographers. They decided that only 3 photographer positions would be funded into the future. The 3 positions were advertised in the public domain and Ian, not only applied, but also won a position. It should be noted that Ian around that time completed by part-time study a Graduate Diploma of Visual Art at the Queensland College of Art. The topic of his research was portraits of artists.

 

Australia Council Residency and sessional teaching

Poole’s interest in the art of photography needed to be pursued alongside the day-to-day grind of professional work. After completing the Graduate Diploma he sought and was awarded and Australia Council Artist in Residency in Tokyo where he immersed himself in his passion for portraiture and Japanese culture.

 

Ian Poole and photobook made in a workshop with Simon Woolf with Vicky and I in 2005

 

Ian’s assistants, peers and mentorees

Ian always had assistants, mentored those seeking advancement of their skills, as well as sessional teaching at the Queensland College of Art and the Queensland University of Technology. His endorsement of professional practice meant that through his patronage and support many of the Institute’s significant photographers came into the AIPP fold.

 

Poole and the Australian Professional Photography Awards

Soon after I became Chairperson of the APPA’s in the 1990 I championed the development of judge training and the need for judges to have extended their understanding and appreciation of the art as well as professional practice.

Into this space I brought Ian Poole – he had the ideas, debating skills, knowledge and understanding of art to help with this aesthetic transformation of APPA. His dedication to ensuring that the entrant who made special works, in Ian’s opinion, got a fair hearing. I’ve spoken to many awards entrants, at all levels, and they have a story about Ian ‘going into bat’ for one of their works.

Ian skills as a judge and inspirational speaker were recognised by New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography and he became an Australian judging ambassador for the NZIPP Awards.

 

Ian Poole and others at Toowoomba TAFE doing final year assessments

 

Support for TAFE Toowoomba and Nicola’s study

As a teacher in the photography programs at the TAFE college in Toowoomba I was always privileged to have Ian and many other professional photographers and artists carry out the final holistic assessment of student work as well as endorse and support my institution.

Nicola Poole and Doug Spowart

When Ian’s daughter Nicola wanted to pursue photography Ian arranged to bring her to Toowoomba suggesting this is where she needed to be. She enrolled and over the next two years she completed her diploma studies in 2003 with the Graduating Student of the Year Award.

 

Team Foto Frenzy – an Impossible Project 10×8 Polaroid by Doug Spowart – RHS Ian photographs Doug

Foto Frenzy

When Ian formed Foto Frenzy with a small group of photography identities including Darren Jew, Tony Holden, Cam Attree and Susan Gravina from Brisbane Camera Hire I was honoured to open the enterprise. Later, Vicky and I were invited as Artists in Residence for a month in 2013. While we where at Foto Frenzy we participated in workshops, re-configured the premises into a camera obscura, made 10×8 Polaroid Impossible Project images and held an exhibition of our photobook and image work.

 

Ian Poole, Diane Byrne and Eric Victor at the State Library of Qld looking at prints by Richard Stringer

John Oxley Library donation

One of many things undertaken by Ian that many may not be aware of is his donation of his professional photography archive to the John Oxley Library at the State Library of Queensland. For quite a few years he has been going into the Library to unpack and catalogue the work so that it can be successfully searched and retrieved into the future. Now much of Brisbane’s cultural history from buildings to fashion, ballet and theatre, portraits of the rich and famous and those curious dated art-directed advertisements of the 1970s and 80s, are there as a document of our times.

I’ve been around professional photography for nearly 50 years and I’ve seen the disappearance of numerous professional photographers and their businesses – but what of their photographs? Lost? – Not Ian’s work, which he has given in an altruistic act for Queenslanders and their history.

 

In conclusion

I was always fascinated by Ian’s business name – ‘Ian Poole does photography’, we now know he did much more…

At this time I, and many others, will reflect on and remember Ian Poole

– his legacy will continue on in all of us.

 

Doug Spowart

NOTE: I hope that all this is correct – should their be any errors I am happy to make the corrections

 

What follows are some published works relating to Ian, some links and some other images…

Ian Poole’s website: https://poolefoto.wordpress.com/

Photo.Graphy Journal: Ian Poole Guest Editor

PHOTO.Graphy Journal – Ian Poole Guest Editor

 

QCP ALT Catalogue — Curated by Ian Poole

Ian Poole curated show at Qld Centre for Photography

 

f11 Magazine Ian Poole Folio

f11 Online magazine: Ian Poole folio

 

Ian Poole – On the lounge

https://wotwedid.com/2012/05/17/ian-poole-aipp-on-the-lounge/

 

 

Some images by or about Ian…

 

Ian Poole and Kev Hudson judging the 1982 Brisbane National Exhibition of Photography at Imagery Gallery

Doug Spowart in Imagery Gallery Darkroom by Ian Poole

 

Ian Poole moving out of Berry Street

Toula, Ian and Louise at the Photobook Club meeting at the Cobb & Co Museum Toowoomba

Ian and Doug at a Foto Frenzy opening

Ian Poole photographed by Wayne Radford at the exhibition End of the roid curated by Doug Spowart

Ian Poole at the opening of ICONS at the Cobb&Co Museum in Toowoomba

A Foto Frenzy opening

The opening of Foto Frenzy

An animated Ian Poole at an AIPP ‘On the lounge’

Foto Frenzy Polaroid group setup PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

 

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Ian Poole, Glen, Asai at the opening of Floating

 

Farewell Ian….

 

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6 Responses

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  1. As a former student at TAFE in Toowoomba (1996-1997). I recall Ian gaving of himself to students so generously in several occassions. He will be remembered as a giving person in my mind. Thank you Ian.

    David Martinelli

    March 18, 2018 at 11:02 pm

  2. Doug: Thank you so much. A wonderful tribute.

    John Swainston

    March 18, 2018 at 11:08 pm

  3. Such a wonderful read Doug, even watching the ‘5 Years from Now’ interview was brilliant to view again. It makes me think about what my response would be now. You have spent many heartfelt, strong hours putting this together for us to celebrate and to feel so enriched that we were a part of such an amazing mans life. I almost feel there should be a documentary made. Thank you Doug & Vicki. Over many years you have involved me in events that have helped me grow and hopefully help others, and through these moments I developed this beautiful friendship with Ian Poole.

    jan ramsay

    March 19, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    • Thank you Jan… In a way we all shared that history and the people we connect with form a community and we inspire and influence each other in this….

      Cooper+Spowart

      March 19, 2018 at 8:44 pm


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