Over the last three months, we have been running a photography competition with the State Library around their current exhibition As Modern As Tomorrow, a collection of post-war photographs from Melbourne in the 1950s.
The exhibition features images by photographers such as Wolfgang Sievers, Mark Strizic, Helmut Newton, Athol Shmith, Maggie Diaz, Henry Talbot, Norman Ikin and Dacre Stubbs, shot during a time in which photography was developing a prevalent position as a mode of art, advertising and promotion. Reflecting the changing face of photographic practice as well as that of professional and everyday life in Melbourne, the exhibition shows our city in a time of social and cultural development and prosperity.
To celebrate the style and photographic language of the time, we asked entrants to reinterpret the photographs with a contemporary nuance. Taking inspiration from these remarkable depictions of the social landscape, we wanted entries to recast the highly styled aesthetic of post-war Melbourne in a present-day setting.
The response to the competition was overwhelming, with some fascinating interpretations of the existing images from the exhibition – from architectural forms and city buildings to women propped up at the bar where men once dominated the scene. It was great to see how people re-imagined these images in a modern day context. Some were bizarre and strange, others were very creative and some came in as a direct replica of the original shot. But the images that struck us most were those that drew something from the exhibition stylistically and compositionally, while invoking a modern perspective.
The judges, Michaela Webb (Studio Round), photographer James Geer and Broadsheet publisher Nick Shelton, narrowed the entries down to three finalists, but it was She is Frank’s interpretation of Athol Shmith’s photograph for ‘A bouquet to your beauty’ campaign (1961), that was voted the winning image (hair & make-up by Phoebe Goulding, model Adelaide Rochford at Chadwick). Webb comments, "She has kept the classic feminine nature of the image from the 60s, whilst capturing the strong contemporary female form that is current today."
Second place was Koray Kilicli’s interpretation of Wolfgang Sievers’ photograph of ICC House (1958). Kilicli shot the same building in its contemporary context in East Melbourne. Third place went to Jessie DiBlasi, who recreated another Sievers image, taken at the Club Bar of the Menzies Hotel (1965). Her modern interpretation of this image was shot at 1000 £ Bend.
The winners were announced at our Spring Print issue launch party last Thursday at The Everleigh. All images are pictured above and in our Spring print issue which is out now.
Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who submitted entries to the As Modern As Tomorrow competition.