Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 23 August 2019

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – Melbourne documentary photographer Morganna Magee‘s Teenage Wildlife and veteran advertising photographer Robert Imhoff’s double act: Santa Christmas Cards and Two Puppets, a Car & a Chameleon.

Exhibition & Book:

Morganna Magee – Teenage Wildlife


Melbourne photographer Morganna Magee has been documenting the lives of three young women – Daisy, Shania and Teeya – photographing their transition from young adolescents to adults.

These three young women are from the same family. Magee says that over the years she’s photographed them, “the relationship between sitter and photographer has allowed for a collaborative practice in which the girls are allowed autonomy over their representation.”


Magee says this long term project, which she has named Teenage Wildlife, is as much a narrative about “intergenerational poverty, mental illness and lack of education” as it is about the girls’ individual stories.

This is the first time the series has been exhibited in its entirety. I’m looking forward to seeing how this project has evolved. I first saw some images from this body of work back in 2015 and could see then that Magee had the vision, insight and dedication to bring this story to life.

Magee will also release a limited edition book. Eminent photographer Ruth Maddison will launch the exhibition.

30 August to 29 September

Counihan Gallery 233 Sydney Rd, Brunswick

(C) All photos Morganna Magee


Robert Imhoff – Double Act

Santa Christmas Cards and Two Puppets, a Car & a Chameleon

2002. London_©Robert Imhoff
Westminster Bridge (C) Robert Imhoff

Robert Imhoff is one of Australia’s most well-known and regarded commercial photographers. No doubt part of his success is due to his personality – Imhoff is gregarious, has a quirky sense of humour and tells a terrific yarn. He also likes to push boundaries and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He talks a good game and knows how to deliver more than bluster. Plus he can be downright outrageous, which makes him good fun too.

Hay Plains, NSW 1989 – the first pissing Santa. While photographing Santa in the dawn light Imhoff says he was both surprised and bemused by the number of locals that drove along the road at that time of day. Many slowed down to take a look at Santa who ostensibly was out on the road alone! Imhoff was concealed by the scrub. (C) Robert Imhoff

Take the work on show in Santa Christmas Cards. If I needed to sum it up in a single word: irreverent. After all, how else would you describe a series of cards featuring jolly Santa pissing in public places! Yes that’s right. Santa pissing. Take a closer look. Too funny.

1992_Sydney Opera House_©Robert Imhoff
Opera House (C) Robert Imhoff

Dissatisfied with the range of cards on offer at Christmas, Imhoff decided to make his own, continuing the tradition for 15 years. He always chose places that were iconic, Westminster Bridge, the Opera House, with Santa’s back to the camera and the streaming piss often in view!

1985_Kodak_CHAMELEON ©Robert Imhoff
Kodak Chameleon. 1985 Puppeteer, Ron Mueck. Photo (C) Robert Imhoff

The work on show in Two Puppets, a Car & a Chameleon is from a project Imhoff did for Kodak Australasia. At the time Imhoff was running his photographic agency, RIP and Kodak’s ad agency called him in for a briefing. In addition to wanting Imhoff to take the stills for the Kodak campaign, the agency was also looking for a puppeteer for the TV commercial. Asked if he worked with a puppeteer Imhoff enthusiastically answered “yes, the best in the world” despite the fact that he didn’t know anyone with those skills!

Back at his studio he worked hard trying to figure out how he was going to deliver on his boast. At the time the Muppets were a big hit on TV. Imhoff picked up the phone and called Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in London. Henson’s manager suggested one of their key production people, Melbourne-born Ron Mueck, would be the perfect person to do the job. Mueck, who today is renowned as a hyperrealist sculptor, flew to Melbourne to work with Imhoff and model-maker Herman Witte. And the rest as they say is history.

1985. Kodak Car. ©Robert Imhoff
Kodak Car.1985 Model-maker, Herman Witte. Photo (C) Robert Imhoff

Now retired, Imhoff is enjoying mining his archives and rediscovering photographs and stories from the days when advertising budgets were generous and creatives had room to move.

Both shows are on from 24 August to 20 October

Forge Pizzeria and 1816 Bakehouse

14 and 18 Armstrong Street North, Ballarat




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