Archive for June, 2011

State Library Exhibition

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22, 2011 by Gwendolen De Lacy

OPENING NEXT WEEK, this exhibition features commercial works from The Diaz Collection, now owned by The State Library of Victoria and includes photographs taken for The Brotherhood of St Laurence, 3AW, Nilsen, Paddle Shoes and more…

For further information go to

Keith Murdoch Gallery State Library 1st July, 2011 – 5th February,2012

Curated by Eve Sainsbury

This free exhibition of striking commercial photography from the Library’s collection gives a unique  insight into the changing social fabric of mid-20th-century Melbourne.

Between the 1930s and the 1960s,  Melbourne saw an influx of talented photographers from abroad, with an eye for capturing images unlike  anything Australia had ever seen.

As modern as tomorrow features works by Norman Ikin, Helmut Newton, Athol Shmith, Wolfgang Sievers,  Mark Strizic, Dacre Stubbs, Henry Talbot and Maggie Diaz.

These exceptionally talented individuals were active in commercial fields as varied as fashion,  advertising, architectural and industrial photography, for clients including Robin Boyd,  the Australian Wool Board, Shell and Kodak.

As modern as tomorrow presents this work in a new context, as the photographs are displayed alongside the corporate publications and advertising material in which they originally appeared. Many of these images from the Library’s collection are on public display for the first time.

Ashton’s Circus, 1970s

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2011 by Gwendolen De Lacy

Tommy Hanlon, June 1971

This beautifully casual portrait of the famous Tommy Hanlon, shows Maggie’s ability to quickly put her subject at ease.  It is just one image in a series, but a more recent discovery, which is why I’ve chosen to reveal it now.  Tommy and Maggie had an interesting connection; they were a similar age – both American and both had evolved through a stage life in America.  Maggie’s work as a showgirl in Blackstone’s Magic show during the late 1940s gave her some insight into the life of a performer and launched her into an artistic life.  Before that, she didn’t dream it would be possible for her…

Philip Zachini and son, with Abu, Gilda and Gigi

Sascha, The Snake Lady

SILVERS Circus is currently in town and at our daughter Matilda’s request, we went along for her birthday.  It was a fabulous show and I was thrilled to meet Anton Gasser, who founded the circus in 1976.    The line up of incredible performers were mainly from the Gasser family, so it was a rare opportunity to chat to some real circus folk.  Never one to miss a chance to talk about the Diaz Collection, I mentioned that we had some images from Australia’s Ashton’s Circus from the 1970s.  It turns out that Anton was actually a trapeze artist with Ashton’s at the same time that the above photos were taken, so he offered to identify the performers you see featured here.  We now know that the elephant trainer was Philip Zachini and his elephants were Abu, Gilda and Gigi. Apparently Philip is still around, so we look forward to sharing these photos with him at some stage…perhaps he’s never seen them or maybe he did catch the article in the Southern Cross News in the  early 1970s when a couple of these pictures were featured.

There are certainly no animals in sight these days, but Silvers captures the essence of what circus used to be…there is lots of magic, plenty of death-defying stunts, bucket loads of humour and plenty of brilliance (and nice sparkling sequins too!)

So if you see a Silvers poster around, or you notice a big top in your area, don’t be confused or afraid – the circus is well worth re-visiting!

Go to: to find out more!

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