Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Living in the ’70s

Posted in Uncategorized on January 30, 2016 by Gwendolen De Lacy
White girl at the zoo 1970s

White Girl at the Zoo, 1970s by Maggie Diaz

We are delighted to have Diaz photographs featured in this excellent exhibition now showing in Melbourne.

A summertime salon of photographs taken in Melbourne, city and suburbs, during the 1970s. Come and rediscover the Zeitgeist of that tumultuous decade – the people, politics, fun, fashion, and life-changing events. Images of Melbourne life in the city and suburbs 1970-1979 by noted photographers: Bruce Postle, John Casamento, Joyce Evans John Gollings, Maggie Diaz, Andrew Chapman, Peter Kelly, Glen O’Malley, Colin Abbott, Alan Attwood, Julie Millowick and more…

January 21st – February 14th, 2016


Level 2,  640 Bourke St
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, Australia

TUESDAY to FRIDAY – 11am to 6pm
SATURDAY and SUNDAY – 11am to 4pm
+61 (0) 3 8589 0371


A Festive Moment

Posted in Uncategorized on December 19, 2015 by Gwendolen De Lacy

Maggie with large pics

This year we launched the Maggie Diaz Prize for Women at Brightspace, St Kilda – Maggie’s neighbourhood and stomping ground for the past 50 years.

The question was always – will we be able to get Maggie up those stairs?

She refused to appear opening night, but on the very last day of the exhibition, she agreed to be carried into the space.

It was a magnificent moment and a real highlight of 2015. She sat in the projection room, watched her beloved slide show and once again gave commentary on her own commentary.  She met the MDP finalists and our spectacular team of sponsors and supporters.

So as this year comes to a close, we’d love to wish you all the best for the festive season and a happy and healthy New Year!

Thank you for your continued support and enjoy those little moments.  They are indeed, precious.

Best regards,

Gwen and Maggie


Maggie Diaz Prize – Your invitation!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 21, 2015 by Gwendolen De Lacy


Please click on this file to open your invitation!

We hope that you can join us for the announcement of the Diaz Prize winner and launch of Maggie Diaz Projects in her home town of St Kilda. Our 35 photographers will exhibit their work alongside Maggie and the winner announced on the night.  Guests will also have the opportunity to vote for the People’s Choice Award!

We also have sad news to share: The director of  Brightspace,  Martin Kantor, has passed away.  He was a delightful man, a photographer and passionate about the arts.  I know that he was very proud to be hosting this award, which was initiated by his dear friend and gallery manager, Kylie Greer.  We thank Martin for his vision and is trust in us, as we prepare for the event.  Our sincere condolences to Martin’s family, friends and the Brightspace community.

If for some reason you are unable to open this file, please email and we’ll send you all the details.

I won a prize with this guy…

Posted in Uncategorized on July 19, 2015 by Gwendolen De Lacy


I won a prize in Chicago with this guy…he had a wonderful face.  He’d go out with me and we’d spend all night looking for good backgrounds. 

[I Don’t Do Sweet, 2006]

It was the early 1950s and Maggie worked with Frank Wood in a jazz music store, while trying to get her professional photographic career off the ground.  She entered this photograph in a competition run by the Chicago Tribune newspaper and won.  This was to give her the momentum to start her professional life as Maggie Besson, photographer.

We encourage professional and emerging photographers to submit work for consideration to the inaugural prize in Maggie’s honour, to be launched with an exhibition of Maggie’s work ‘Maggie Diaz Projects’ at Brightspace Gallery in St Kilda.

Maggie Diaz Projects

Opens 3rd of September 2015.

Entries close 7th August, 2015

1st Prize, $5000

People’s Choice Award, $1000

The ‘blind’ selection of photographs will be made by our esteemed judging panel:

NAOMI CASS, Director Centre for Contemporary Photography

PONCH HAWKES, Celebrated Photographer

JEFF MOORFOOT, Creative Director, Ballarat Int. Foto Biennale


Maggie Diaz Projects – The Prize

Posted in Uncategorized on June 13, 2015 by Gwendolen De Lacy

We are delighted to announce our partnership with Brightspace Gallery in St Kilda, who are hosting an exhibition of Diaz works taken in the Port Philip area; Maggie’s home for over five decades. Brightspace has also attracted a generous sponsor, Guilty Films, for the launch of a photographic prize in Maggie’s honour.

We are seeking entries from women of all ages, backgrounds and career levels.  Entrants should use available light and the winner will be announced at the opening of Maggie Diaz Projects – 3 Sept 2015.

See link below for further details!

E_maggiediazprize_ (2) go to

Hanoi Streets and Reveries – an exhibition celebration

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9, 2015 by Gwendolen De Lacy

Saturday 18th of April 2-4pm

Please join us to celebrate a fabulous guest photography exhibition featuring the work of old friends and Table for 18 regulars, the legendary Lin van Hek and Joe Dolce.  Lin and Joe were photographed by Maggie in the 1990s and have supported the Diaz project since the launch at La Mama 10 years ago.

Sumptuous snacks will be provided with drinks at bar prices.  Maggie and I look forward to catching up with you all at Graze on Grey @ 103 Grey Street, St Kilda.

RSVP to by Wednesday 15th of April

Joe’s ‘Hanoi Streets’ and Lin’s ‘Reveries’- a joint exhibition will run until the 1st of May, 2015.


Hanoi Streets

Birthday Girl

Posted in Uncategorized on February 22, 2015 by Gwendolen De Lacy
The Hooded Terror 2

‘The Hooded Terror’ 1950s self portrait (c) Maggie Diaz 2015

Maggie turns 90 this week! To celebrate,  we are hosting a very casual drop in afternoon at Maggie’s home in St Kilda. 

 2-4pm on Sunday the 8th of March

There will be cupcakes and hopefully a viewing of ‘I Don’t Do Sweet’ at 3pm – for those of you who weren’t there to witness the first ever slide show in 2005.

Regular Maggie visitors will know where to come, but those who need more details, please comment below or email me at and I will send the address.  All welcome!

We are also proud to announce the following event in Canberra –  opening soon.  Please share with your friends and colleagues in Canberra.

OPENING 4PM SUNDAY 29TH OF MARCH, 2015 with a floor talk by Curator, Gwendolen De Lacy.

Maggie Diaz arrived in Australia on a one-way ticket in 1961, (a divorce gift from her Australian husband) and soon established herself as one of Melbourne’s leading commercial photographers. Known for her expertise in using available light, Diaz had a genius for capturing character and situation. Dating back to Chicago in the 1950s, her work is also marked by the contrast between the glamorous commercial world and those outside of society with whom she felt a connection. ‘I Don’t Do Sweet’ focuses on the women and girls in the Diaz Collection: strong, composed, defiant and preferably not smiling. It is dedicated to Maggie’s daughter Laurie – the little red head who was adopted out via a baby broker in 1957 – lost because Diaz felt she had nothing to offer a child and life as a single, professional woman, could not involve motherhood. Largely unrecognized until her 80th birthday in 2005, 90 year old Diaz’s archive is held by the State Library of Victoria and her work has been acquired by the National Library of Australia, The National Gallery of Australia and private collections around the world.

Manning Clark House Gallery:

10am–3pm Tuesday to Sunday, during exhibitions, or by arrangement, or phone us

The Cat’s Meow

Posted in Uncategorized on December 23, 2014 by Gwendolen De Lacy
Christmas with a bow, Tavern Club Chicago 1950s

Christmas with a bow, Tavern Club Chicago 1950s

It’s been an incredible year with much to celebrate.  Thank you for your support and for being part of it all!

Wishing you all the very best for the holiday season and beyond.

See you in 2015!

Gwen and Maggie xoxo

I don’t do sweet

Posted in Uncategorized on October 5, 2014 by Gwendolen De Lacy


In her element, by Dave Carswell

In her element, by Dave Carswell

This year, Maggie and I celebrate 30 years of friendship.  I haven’t been the only long term female connection in her life –  there have been many: some of whom have stayed close and others have drifted off, because Maggie was never one for staying in touch.

When we started working on the Collection, I’d ring or turn up at her door and she’d say, ‘Oh, you came back!’ or ‘Aren’t you sick of me yet?’

As a woman, a friendship with Maggie was never ‘maternal’, but a respectful honouring of creativity and purpose.  A  phone call filled with affirmations and the odd ‘back hander’, was what I came to expect from her.  With her unique turn of phrase, her unyielding Americanism and her uncanny ability to sum up a person or situation in just a few words, there was nobody like her.

Maggie easily became estranged from women too,  because she was often broke, unreliable and single-minded. She wouldn’t mince her words and might tell a female friend that her ‘butt was looking too big’ or that she was ‘looking ten years older’.

Our first day together in 1985 was a photo shoot for my agency portfolio and we spent 12 hours on it.  Across Melbourne – from Bayside to the city, she made me feel like we were creating something really good together; something worthwhile and as a young performer, this was life changing.

Our friendship was firm from that day forward.  She also liked me because, although I was young and still at school, I did have a regular part time job, so was very good at paying my bills.  She’d get in the car and say, ‘Have you got any loot?’ and that would mean that it was up to me to buy coffee and lunch!

One of the reasons that I was inspired to put the photographic collection together, was that I was equally enthralled by the stories that Maggie had shared with me about her early life and every time I went down a research path, I was usually rewarded.

There was one key story that had me entranced and completely stumped at the same time.  Although I had put many hours into solving this mystery,  I had actually given up on any resolution of this one before Maggie passed away.

I have always known that Maggie gave up a little red headed baby girl for adoption some time in the late 40s or 50s and that the adoption and all her medical costs were managed by a lawyer (now known as a ‘baby broker’). I would ask her for the name of the hospital, the birthdate and the name of the lawyer and she would always say she couldn’t remember. It was as though she was determined to keep me off the scent and when I challenged her on this, she maintained that she had nothing to offer this woman, so what was the point. I said ‘ How about identity?’

About two months ago I received an email from Laurie, who IS this woman! It was a tentative note – asking politely if there was the possibility that Maggie might be her mother.  I quickly responded with something like, ‘I know exactly  who you are and I’ll call you in 6 hours if you send me your landline!’  Sure enough 6 hours later, she sent me her number, saying she was shaking so much she could barely type. I was about to be part of a life changing moment.  Laurie and I talked and talked – all the details that I did know, matched. She had been handed over to a baby broker in a cab and she had bright red hair. Later that week I set up a Skype call with Maggie and although dementia is a big issue, Laurie got to see her birth mother. When she turned to the side, I started to laugh because Laurie has Maggie’s side profile – especially her ears!

I had already booked my ticket to travel to the USA and as I write, I am here – spending time with Maggie’s family, meeting with gallery and festival people and doing research for my book. A week ago, we met Laurie. She and her son drove for 8 hours from Missouri. That night she met 3 of her cousins and we spoke to Maggie on Skype. The next day we met Maggie’s old buddy Will – now 80, who was one of the few people who had actually known what had occurred and was happy to share his memories of that time.

It was just a little overwhelming, and as you can imagine, I’ve been wanting to share this news, but have taken time to process it all, as has Laurie. You are probably wondering what Maggie thinks of all this. During our first Skype call with Laurie she said ‘I feel tremors’ and went to sleep for a while. We have spoken to Laurie a number of times since then and will continue to do so. She is also taking a while to process it all.

When I return to Australia I’ll be preparing an all women show (women and girls)  which will open this December at Manning Clark House in Canberra. I had already planned this exhibition and it’s title – ‘I Don’t Do Sweet’.

It was always going to be an ‘all girls’ show – strong, proud, beautiful – but not sweet and now…it will be dedicated to Laurie. I believe that throughout her life spent behind a camera, a certain little red head was never far from her thoughts.

I have had the most extraordinary time in America and am very grateful to everyone who has gone out of their way to make it so.



Gracias por una noche maravillosa

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2014 by Gwendolen De Lacy

Images by Trudy Schuringa Photography


Last month we celebrated the life of Frida Kahlo sitting around the Table for 18 at Graze on Grey – the home of Diaz images in St Kilda, here in Melbourne.

Our new host, chef and owner, Prem Negi couldn’t do enough to spoil us with a gorgeous 3 course meal fiesta and our hostess Samantha Newton designed Mexican cocktails and a welcoming green room for our star performer guests – Lin van Hek and Joe Dolce.  Lin served up tequila, salt and lime.  What a way to start a show – it was sublime.


The show was the usual poetry, power, punch and humour and the guests came in all their finery, won prizes and bought artwork.  Most importantly, Maggie was able to stay till late. When I took her home, one of the lovely staff members at Sacred Heart had made her a candy striped nightie.


One day soon it will all seem like a dream…


Thank you to all our wonderful guests for a marvellous evening – Gracias por una noche maravillosa.


Thank you so much to Trudy Schuringa Photography for once again capturing our special night – more passion and frivolity below.





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If you’d like to be a part of future Table for 18 events @ Graze on Grey sign on to this blog or LIKE us at

All patrons at Graze on Grey have their meal price automatically deducted from a Diaz purchase – with 5% of sales going to Sacred Heart Mission.

Graze on Grey is at 103 Grey Street, St Kilda

039077 0421



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