Mid-century fashion photography captured in commemorative stamp issue

The creativity of four influential Australian photographers of the mid-20th century is celebrated in Australia Post’s latest commemorative stamp issue, which also celebrates the birth centenary of two wartime émigré photographers, Helmut Newton and Henry Talbot, who brought an international style to Australian fashion photography.

Australia Post Philatelic Manager Michael Zsolt said that the images capture the essence of mid-century fashion photography and its influence on society.

“Fashion photography is a chronicle of the times in which it is made. This stamp issue documents mid-century fashion and its changing social context through the visual medium of photography”.

The four domestic base rate ($1.10) stamps, designed by Sally Piskuric, feature:

$1.10        Athol Shmith, No Title, (Fashion illustration. Model Patricia Tuckwell), 1949, National Gallery of Victoria

One of Australia’s leading portrait, fashion and commercial photographers from the 1930s, Athol Shmith (1914–90) helped shape the image of the “new woman”. The photograph on the stamp represents the 1940s, the earliest decade in the stamp issue.

$1.10        Helmut Newton, Jane Wakely modelling for the Australian Wool Board, 1959, National Gallery of Victoria

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Helmut Neustaedter (1920–2004) arrived in Australia from Germany in 1940, leaving in 1957. He was a prolific and provocative photographer, and known for his cutting-edge style. The stamp photograph depicts a young woman embracing a new sense of freedom in changing times.

$1.10        Henry Talbot, No title, (Fashion illustration. Model Maggie Tabberer), 1960s, printed 2016, National Gallery of Victoria

Henry Talbot (1920–99) arrived in Australia in 1942, where he met fellow émigré photographer Helmut Newton. In 1956, Talbot and Newton set up a photography studio in Melbourne, working almost exclusively on fashion and advertising. Talbot built his career as a top fashion photographer, particularly during the 1960s, and his work was regularly published in Vogue and Vanity Fair.

$1.10        Bruno Benini, Graeme Jones, Robyn Fong, Lucinda Wills Model Concept for Gala, 1972, National Gallery of Victoria

Bruno Benini (1925–2001) began his career in commercial photography, becoming Henry Talbot’s assistant before establishing his own fashion photography studio. Benini’s work, shooting local and international fashion labels, spanned five decades from the 1950s, reflecting the social and style contours of the decades.

The Mid-century Fashion Focus stamps and associated products, including a minisheet first day cover and maxicard set of four, are available from Tuesday 16 June 2020, while stocks last, at participating Post Offices, via mail order on 1800 331 794 and online at auspost.com.au/stamps.

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