Keep Cool Melbourne!

Laurie Richards Photographic Collection, purchased 1991. Arts Centre Melbourne, Performing Arts Collection.
Laurie Richards Collection. Arts Centre Melbourne, Performing Arts Collection.

As Melbourne swelters through its fourth consecutive day over 40 degrees celsius, I was inspired to search our Collection for examples of people beating the heat!

This wonderful photograph is one of approximately 28,000 images in our Laurie Richards collection. Richards (1907-1985) was a professional photographer who worked in Melbourne during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Richards was a member of the Royal Australian Airforce Reserves when his interest in photography began, stemming from his involvement in aerial work. Early in his career he worked as a press photographer for the Adelaide Advertiser, the Argus and the Herald Sun. During his time with the Herald Sun Richards also worked as a freelance photographer. Having made a number of valuable contacts and securing a reputation through one of Melbourne’s leading newspapers, Richards established his own company in the early 1950s which operated from a ‘self-built’ studio, situated at the back of his home in Alphington. By the 1960s he employed a team of twelve photographers, with his wife Connie tending to the daily office activities of an ever-expanding enterprise.

Richards’s business specialised in advertising and public relations. His style of photography was often playful, animated and action-fuelled, capturing a variety of entertainers, presenters and audiences ‘in the moment’. Regular clients included Shell, Mobil, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, HSV 7, Hector Crawford Productions, 3DB, 3UZ, 3AW and 3KZ. While working for his television and radio clients, Richards photographed many well known celebrities, both Australian and those visiting from overseas. These included The Seekers, Graham Kennedy, John Farnham, Normie Rowe, Sir Robert Helpmann, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Fred Astaire, Sammy Davis Jnr., Danny Kaye, Gregory Peck and many more.

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