Melbourne’s homegrown talent

By Aleczander Gamboa

Melbourne is often renowned as a city where creativity thrives. Everywhere you go there is always something artistically profound waiting to be discovered, from hypnotising laneways to the iconic arts and theatre spaces the city is home to. 

As someone who works in the creative industry, I often utilise Melbourne’s eclectic space to garner inspiration, whether it be for my next article idea or whenever I’m stuck in a rut.

This is how I found myself at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and stumbling upon its latest exhibition paying homage to Henry Talbot, an iconic photographer who showcased the shifting face of Melbourne fashion during the 1960s.

Originally a European emigre artist from Germany, Talbot was renowned for bringing an invigorating international flare to Australian photography when he created his business in Melbourne’s very own Flinders Lane.

After securing big name clients including Sportscraft and the Australian Wool Board, his reputation as a dynamic force in fashion photography was established when his work was recognised by none other than Australian Vogue.

His extensive photography repertoire – specifically an extraordinary archive of more than 30,000 negatives – depicts the emerging youth culture that evolved synonymously with Melbourne’s thriving artistic scene during the ’60s.

From lamp-lit streets to our obsession with fast cars and luxury glam, Talbot often used these locations as backdrops to create arresting imagery that transformed the streets of Melbourne into scenes that looked like Paris, London and New York – a testament to his reputation for bringing an “international eye” to the world of Australian fashion.

In many ways, he set the standard for excellent fashion photography, so it only seemed natural that the NGV wanted to give him the recognition he so rightly deserved.

Talbot’s diverse range of works prompted me to think about how influential Melbourne is in nurturing home-grown talent. Since Talbot, the city has produced some of the biggest names in the Australian fashion industry, from Toni Maticevski, Alannah Hill, Nixi Killick and powerhouse duo Peter Strateas and Mario-Luca Carlucci – the list goes on forever.

So whether you’re a self-proclaimed fashionista or curious to see what all the hype is about, take a stroll through Henry Talbot’s colourful history at the NGV and get a rare insight into a fascinating world of 1960s luxury glamour.

The exhibitions runs from May 7 until August 21.

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