On Photography - Len, Wog and the girls

Article Detail

Thursday 21 August 2008
Ron Brownson

Frequently, I encounter photographs where I have no knowledge of why they were discarded. Markets and second-hand stores regularly offer photographs, which people have discarded but chosen not to destroy. Less regularly, I come across transparencies that were once called ‘colour slides’. They had their hey-day in the 1960s and 1970s when overseas trips by locals could result in interminable slide shows, sometimes containing hundreds of poorly exposed images. As if every photo taken on holiday is of interest to others.

At a market a few years back I came across a collection of Kodachrome slides taken on a trip from Sydney to Brisbane. How do I know this? The slides have inscriptions and there is what we call ‘internal visual evidence’. The most interesting picture was this image (below) of Len (left hand side) and his Italian mate Wog (right hand side) on the New South Wales to Queensland State Highway.


Unknown (twentieth century)
Australia Len and Wog circa 1965-1966
Kodachrome transparency

hey are going north and eucalyptus trees surround the highway. The guys are propped against the cab, on the tailgate of what appears to be a Holden FB ‘Ute’ from about 1960. A 1956 Holden FE is seen in the road behind, followed by a Holden EJ (1962-65). It is summer and they want a tan. They have a couple of friends in the cab and the passenger has turned back to get the shot.


Unknown (twentieth century),
MMM Man! Sydney circa 1965-1966
Kodachrome transparency

Another shot is labelled North Sydney and has the title: MMM Man! Our travel photographer now peers at two young women modelling summer swimwear at a local wharf for a fashion photographer. A local woman looks down on him disapprovingly; he is definitely snooping on this scene with his camera. Both shots should be dated in the period 1965-1966.