Nothing Beats Lunch With a Few Mates: Roger Garwood

Bob Otway was a typical prospector. He lived in a tin shack which had a dirt floor. Like most prospectors he had an old ute, a rifle, a gas powered fridge, a wobbly table, a couple of wooden chairs and a comfortable cushioned seat with the stuffing falling out. His main tool was a shovel.

To prove the point I had lunch with a few professional photographers a couple of weeks back. During a rare quiet moment between drinks and tall stories among the shooters one colleague, Mike Wearne, gave me a copy of the French Photo magazine which he’d bought it in Canada. The magazine was a blast from the past.

Hector Pelham, known as The Mayor of Broad Arrow, enjoyed a few beers at his local pub … sometimes resulting in him resorting to sleeping on the billiard table.

I hadn’t seen this edition but it had a 10-12 page spread of the work Trish Ainslie and I did for our first book Off Like Flies which illustrated the lifestyle of Australian prospectors.

Bob Collard was the local undertaker and Keeper of the Flag.

The magazine, published in 1990, was an indication of how the world’s major magazines such as Life, Paris Match, Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic and numerous European magazines ran stories during the golden age of photojournalism.

There were a number of extra pics. One showing a shot from a story commissioned by National Geographic in 1983 of the red crab migration on Christmas Island. Following the publication in Geographic the story and pictures published in dozens of pictorial magazines world wide. 

Another spread was of a top selling picture taken prior to Australia winning the America’s Cup of Australia II dropping a spinnaker while training. 

The pictures were shot with Leica and Nikon cameras and lenses and Kodachrome 25 – acknowledged by professional photojournalists as the finest combinations of optics and colour film ever. The copies shown in this article were made with an iPhone.

Story and photographs © Roger Garwood 2023

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