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Remarkable people. Remarkable book.

The acclaimed trainer Gai Waterhouse photographed at dawn training at Royal Randwick Sydney. Photo by Michel Lawrence © 2018 for the book Remarkable. Published by Thames and Hudson
Michel Lawrence photographed the once feared and admired leader of the Sydney Builders’ Labourers Federation at his Sydney home © 2018 for the book Remarkable. Mundey was the first Unionist/Envrinmentalist leader in Australia successfuly halting redevelopment of the Sydney Rocks area.

‘Remarkable’ is Michel Lawrence’s third photographic book. And as the title suggests it is filled with remarkable people, some very well-known, such as former Prime Minister John Howard, comedian Gary McDonald (aka Norman Gunston) the great swimmers Dawn Fraser and Shane Gould, the brilliant polymath Barry Jones and a further 95 great Australians.

Some are not so well known but they were all nominated as Australia’s ‘National Living Treasures’ in an idea sponsored by the National Trust of Australia in 1997 and voted on by Australians through the pages of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

So these were the People’s Choice Awards if you like.

‘Remarkable’ which took nearly two years to compile was written by Melinda Williams and photographed by Michel Lawrence.

‘Remarkable’ was published by the venerable Thames and Hudson, arguably, one of the world’s great publishers of illustrated books on Art, Architecture, Design, Photography, Fashion, Lifestyle, Music, History.

Melinda and Michel travelled across Australia meeting, interviewing and photographing the Treasures. The photographs were all shot using only natural light, as it would have made for a much larger production budget with a large crew with lights and larger format film equipment. But this meant that there was a much greater sense of continuity to the photographs and stylistically much more consistency. The portraits were largely shot in the landscape format and quite often in very close-up mode.

Senator Pat Dodson was photographed outside his office in Parliament House Canberra, by Michel Lawrence © 2018 for the book Remarkable published by Thames and Hudson. 

They were remarkable people” says Michel Lawrence.

As Michel remarked later: “We understood with each new portrait session why these people were Australian Living Treasures. They were all remarkable people.”

Bob Brown, the former Greens leader was photographed by Michel Lawrence © 2018 under an ancient Walnut tree on his property, Oura Oura in Tasmania for the book Remarkable, published by Thames and Hudson.
Dawn Fraser is without doubt one of Australia’s National Living Treasures. The great swimmer was photographed by Michel Lawrence at her local pool © 2018 for the book Remarkable published by Thames and Hudson.

Melinda conducted her interviews as the portrait sessions progressed and a video recording session was also included in the project.

Unfortunately some of the original nominations could not be interviewed or photographed as they had sadly passed away. Gough and Margaret Whitlam were gone, as too Malcolm Fraser, the indigenous singer/songwriter Jimmy Little, the internationally acclaimed art critic Robert Hughes, Dame Leonie Kramer, the much loved Hazel Hawke and the great country singer Slim Dusty to name just a few.

Michel Lawrence photographed the acclaimed Aboriginal actor, TV presenter and activist in Perth for the book Remarkable © 2018. Published by Thames and Hudson.
The brilliant polymath Barry Jones was photographed at his office at Melbourne University for the book Remarkable. Portrait by Michel Lawrence © 2018

So, Melinda and Michel set about the project with a sense of urgency as they wanted to record as many of the Remarkable Australians before any more passed away. By and large they were successful, as several in fact passed away after they had sat for portraits and interviews.


The book was launched in October 2018 at The Buxton Contemporary Art Gallery Melbourne.

Remarkable was designed by John Canty and edited by Katie Purvis. Publisher in charge of the production was Kirsten Abbott.



















The legend of Athol Shmith lives on!

The winter edition of The National Portrait Gallery’s quarterly magazine Portrait, has a feature on the great Athol Shmith who was both a very fine fashion photographer as well as a great educator.

My portrait of Athol taken in March 1985 accompanies the six-page article in Portrait57 by Aimee Board.

It’s an excellent piece – you can read it here – or buy the magazine.

Portrait of Athol Smith by Michel Lawrence. Collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

I can’t remember now why I took the photograph, other than I think Bryan Gracey suggested I should! Gracey was on the staff of the Prahran College in the Photography School where Athol was Head of Department for around 10 years with other Australian photography giants Paul Cox and John Cato.

Bryan Gracey photographed by Michel Lawrence

It was an extraordinary period at the Art School and Athol brought decades-long experience of his life as Australia’s premier fashion photographer to a whole new generation of students.

Athol was part of Melbourne’s royalty for a long time so I just presumed his somewhat English reserved demeanour was how he was. He was our version of Norman Parkinson. Perhaps, his haughtiness was really just masking an innate shyness.

He was recognised in London as well as Melbourne. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was also a member of the Royal Photographic Society in the days when a trip to London meant three months on a ship!

Rob Gale, now teaching at RMIT in Photography and Photographic Imaging said: “He was just so good. He was internationally regarded and as students we were all aware of what he had done.”

Athol’s work is definitely a product of its time and the equipment that he used. Not withstanding its period feel, it has a powerful sense of framing and engagement. Rob Gale says that his work was heavily influenced by music: ” He would draw parallels between the musical scale and the tonality of the photographs. If the music had dark tones then the photographs would be correspondingly heavy and dark.”

Aimee Board’s article covers his portraiture as well as his fashion which Aimee says contributed to the emergence of a new vision of Australian womanhood.

One of Athol’s students was Rod McNicol, the highly awarded portraitist was very close to Athol during his time there: “He was great fun, sometimes Chaplinesque…almost accident-prone while he was lecturing. He was a great mentor for me.”

Rod McNicol , the acclaimed portrait photographer was photographed by Michel Lawrence at McNicol’s small portrait studio in Fitzroy.

Athol was clearly very important to Rod’s development as a photographer: “I used to spend hours round at his place going through books … on Brassai, Kertesz, Penn, Avedon et al. He had bookshelves and bookshelves of books on photography. He had a Kona coffee machine and we spent hours drinking coffee and filling up ashtrays!” said Rod. “I learnt a lot from Athol. He was just such an enthusiast.”

Rob Imhoff, like Athol was a highly successful commercial photographer, but perhaps with more breadth to his practice.

Here is Athol having fun with two other – albeit much younger – photographers. Photo by Rennie Ellis: Athol Shmith, Robert Imhoff & Carol Jerrems. 1975
Brummell Gallery, Toorak Road, South Yarra
© Rennie Ellis Archive

Rob was a fashion photographer too,  but he also shot cars and packaged goods as well: “Athol became one of my early mentors and one thing he taught me was that you didn’t need a motor-drive camera – which was very trendy at the time: “Don’t press the button and HOPE you get the shot,” he’d say.

“Athol was adamant that you should be able to direct the performance and click the shutter at the appropriate time” says Rob. “I called him ‘The Conductor’ because he had that Hollywood-era power of the conductor directing everything. He knew what he wanted – and importantly- what he didn’t want!” said Rob.

During the 1980’s Athol was a regular visitor to Rob’s Lighthouse Studio and Gallery in Prahran: “What people forget now is that in those days Athol was a household name in Melbourne. If you wanted to be a photographer, you wanted to be like Athol.”

Athol was a great photographer and an intriguing character. He deserves to be remembered as one of Australia’s pioneering master photographers.

You should also read Michael Shmith’s account of his life with his father:



Smashing the glass ceiling – 21 women who have done it!


Michel Lawrence's group portrait of some of Australia's leading women lawyers, jurists, academics and legal administrators

A group portrait of 21 of Australia’s most prominent legal minds gathered for the Law Institute Journal’s special landmark issue: 21st century Leaders in Law. Photo by Michel Lawrence

Michel Lawrence has added an epic 21 woman group portrait to his folio of important portraits.

The Law Institute of Victoria commissioned Michel to undertake the large group portrait for the August 2017 edition of the Law Institute Journal featuring 21 women in a number of the most influential positions in Australian law. Included in the portrait were the Chief Justices of the High Court of Australia, Susan Kiefel; The Victorian Supreme Court, Marilyn Warren; The Family Court of Australia, Diana Bryant; and the Victorian Governor, Linda Dessau.

The President of the Children’s Court of Victoria, Judge Amanda Chambers said: “This wonderful photo celebrates the contribution of a range of remarkable women in the vital work of the judicial system.”

The commission was a major exercise in logistics, managing the extraordinary timetables of Chief Justices, CEO’s, Law School deans, the most senior solicitors and barristers and organisation heads.

The 21 were photographed in groups and then put together in post-production to achieve a seamless single portrait of the 21 women: “It was a major production with hair and makeup, a stylist, technical assistants – it was more like a film shoot than a single stills shoot'” said Michel.

Fiona McLeod, President of the Law Council of Australia photographed by Michel Lawrence.
The President of the Law Council of Australia – Fiona McLeod SC – got into the swing of the mega shoot for Australia’s leading women lawyers and legal administrators. Photograph by Michel Lawrence for the Law Institute.

The Managing Editor of the Law Institute Journal Carolyn Ford managed the project for the Law Institute and Bryan Gracey, prinicpal of CPL Digital managed all technical aspects of the shoot and oversaw the extensive digital manipulation during the post production phase with a team of three specialist retouchers.

“Everyone who was invited to participate agreed and everyone seemed to really enjoy the experience. It was very much a fun event and perhaps not quite what you might expect of the most senior judges in Australia as well as Victoria’s Governor Linda Dessau – a former judge herself.” said Michel.

Photographer Michel Lawrence prepares to photograph Marilyn Warren, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria for her individual portrait which is featured in a 20 page section of the Law Institute Journal.

The portrait project was the brainchild of the Law Institute CEO, Nerida Wallace, who wanted to record an important moment in time where so many women are in positions of the the utmost importance to Australia’s legal system.: “We took the photograph to acknowledge and celebrate how far women have come since Flos Greig…” said Nerida. (Flos Greig was the first woman admitted in 1897 to the University of Melbourne Law School – the first woman in Australia to enrol to study law. A statute called the Legal Profession Practice Act 1903 (Vic) had to be passed to ensure that Flos Greig could practise as a lawyer.)

“Now Susan Kiefel has been appointed the first woman Chief Justice of the High Court , while both Diana Bryant and Marilyn Warren are nearing retirement. In 2017 women hold many of the most senior positions in law in Australia and women graduate in higher numbers from Victorian law schools than men.” said Nerida.

Nerida said she was delighted with the end result: “Michel did a fabulous job” she said.

The commission also included 21 individual portraits of the participants in the historic shoot. Above, Nerida Wallace, CEO of the LIV.

Below Louise Anderson, CEO of the Victorian Supreme Court (top) and Marlo Baragwanath, the first woman appointed the Victorian Government Solicitor.

For more, The Law Institute of Victoria: https://www.liv.asn.au

The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/historic-photo-signifies-rise-of-women-to-the-most-powerful-positions-in-law-20170731-gxm89q.html

The Age/1 August 2017

Michel Lawrence photographed Sid Nolan with a roughly cut out Kelly mask for this portrait of one of Australia's most important artists of the post war period.

Sid Nolan portrait at the National Gallery

Michel Lawrence’s portrait of Sid Nolan holding a cut-out Kelly Mask is now on display at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

Michel took the Sid Nolan portrait in 1987 at Rob Imhoff’s wonderful Lighthouse Studio in Prahran, for the book Framed.

Michel Lawrence’s Sid Nolan portrait as Ned Kelly is just one of 100 of Australia’s most prominent painters, sculptors and print-makers photographed over a ten-year period from the mid-1980s until the mid-1990s.

Framed. Photographs of Australian Artists

The photographs were exhibited at Australian Galleries Melbourne and Sydney and published as Framed-Photographs of Australian Artists, published by Hardie Grant. (The book is now out of print but can be found sometimes on Ebay.)

Sid Nolan was most famous for his Ned Kelly series which is also at the NGA and Lawrence had always thought that was a good match!

The reproduction of the Nolan photo is displayed with a new exhibition of the Riverbend series, featuring nine very large pieces on loan from the ANU.

The Sid Nolan portrait

Michel recalled the session: “It was important to me for a number of reasons: Sid was married to Mary Boyd (Arthur’s sister) who had formerly been married to John Perceval. And at the time I was living in the old Perceval home in Canterbury! Now that’s 2 degrees of Separation. Anyway Sid looked incredibly staid and conservative in his banker’s suit until I pulled out the prop, a cut-out Kelly mask. His eyes lit up and away we went,” said Lawrence.

The celebrated artist, teacher and art critic, Elwyn Lynn, wrote in The Weekend Australian at the book launch:

“You can have wonderful fun, whether you want to treat these photographs as slightly satirical or evidence for the analyst.”

The Riverbend paintings

Riverbend at the NGA

Sid Nolan portrait at the NGA

The Riverbend series was painted in England in 1965 and is an intensely personal depiction of the bush painted from memory over a couple of days. Nolan had spent his childhood holidays on the Goulburn River near Shepparton, and he described it as “my father’s country”.

Ned Kelly, Nolan’s iconic bushranger is visible in a number of the paintings playing hide and seek with the police.

The Riverbend series hangs in the gallery opposite the space where the Kelly Gang series is displayed!

The Heide legacy

The Kelly series was painted at Heide while Nolan was living with John and Sunday Reed and the gift of the paintings by Sunday Reed to the NGA laid to rest a dispute over Nolan’s claims to works he had left behind at Heide. He subsequently painted more Kellys but none achieved the acclaim of the originals.

Sidney Nolan Death of Sergeant Kennedy at Stringybark Creek 1946 enamel paint on composition board 91 x 121.7 cm National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 1972 Reproduced with permission
Sidney Nolan
Death of Sergeant Kennedy at Stringybark Creek 1946
enamel paint on composition board
91 x 121.7 cm
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Purchased 1972
Reproduced with permission

Besides the Sid Nolan portrait, many of the Framed photographs are in numerous private and public collections including the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, The National Library, The Museum of Modern Art at Heide, The Queensland Art Gallery, Melbourne University and numerous regional galleries and a number of private collections.

The iconic image of Lloyd Rees by Michel Lawrence is the cover of the book, Framed: Photographs of Australian Artists by Michel Lawrence.

Framed. Second-hand prices skyrocket.

Michel Lawrence’s book of photographic portraits of Australia’s leading 20th Century artists, ‘Framed’, is enjoying a strong resale market on Amazon.

The book – ‘Framed: Photographs of Australian artists by Michel Lawrence’ – was published by Hardie Grant in 1998 and has been out of print for many years.

Lloyd Rees cover of Good Weekend portrait by Michel Lawrence

Above: Michel Lawrence’s iconic portrait of Lloyd Rees which graces the cover of ‘Framed: Photographs of Australian Artists’ was also a cover of Good Weekend magazine and was included in the magazine’s Top Covers for its 30th Anniversary issue. The photo is also in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

Despite the fact that there have been several subsequent books by other photographers documenting the period, Framed has continued to command high prices on the second hand market.

‘Framed’ prices at more than A$400 a copy!

Prices have been as high as GBP £199 (about A$415) and regularly sit around the A$100-A$200 (see Amazon grab below)  for good, used copies. Not bad for a book which sold, when new, for less than $50!

Framed. Used book prices.

A screen grab of a recent entry from Amazon advertising used copies of ‘Framed’. 

Framed was the product of 10 years work, photographing the great artists of the Australian Post-War period, including Sir Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Lloyd Rees, Donald Friend, Clifton Pugh, Charles Blackman, Robert Klippel, Margaret Olley and John Olsen, just to name a few of the 100 artists represented.

John Olsen portrait by Michel Lawrence

Portrait of John Olsen from the book Framed. Portraits of Australian artists by Michel Lawrence.

‘Framed’: Sell-Out Exhibitions at Australian Galleries in Sydney and Melbourne

Michel Lawrence took the portraits of more than 100 pf Australia’s greatest artists from the period and they were first publicly exhibition at Stuart Purves’ Australian Galleries in Melbourne and Sydney.

The portraits formed a sell-out exhibition and many went to large corporate collectors. For instance, The Museum of Modern Art at Heide acquired more than 30 prints while the regional Castlelmaine Gallery acquired more than 20. A number of private collectors also bought groups of 4 and 6 of the portraits.

John Coburn was an abstract artist best known for his fine prints and tapestries containing religious and spiritual themes. John Coburn was photographed near his home in Pearl Beach by Michel Lawrence.
John Coburn was an abstract artist best known for his fine prints and tapestries containing religious and spiritual themes. John Coburn was photographed near his home in Pearl Beach by Michel Lawrence.

Michel Lawrence’s Lloyd Rees and Good Weekend

The Framed cover photograph of Lloyd Rees was reproduced several million times, first in Harper’s BAZAAR magazine and then as the cover of Good Weekend with a feature written by the Walkley Award-winning journalist Janet Hawley. (Janet also wrote the introduction for the book.)

The photo of Llloyd Rees has been reproduced several more times in Good Weekend since the first issue and was named by the magazine as one of its 30 Best Covers.

The Rees Photograph is also in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, QAGOMA (Queensland Art Gallery) and several other major institutions.

For more on Lloyd Rees see review for the Brisbane Courier Mail:


So why is Framed commanding these high prices? And especially in the UK and US markets where most of the books seem to be sourced?

Good question. Perhaps there is a growing interest in Australia’s golden post-war art period. Perhaps, Framed just captured a time of artistic flowering that has also captured the imagination. But whatever it is, we are grateful that it’s attracting this kind of attention and not sitting on remainder tables!

Michael Johnson portrait by Michel Lawrence

Michael Johnson, the contemporary abstractionist, looking distinctly other worldly, in his backlit Sydney studio. Portrait by Michel Lawrence from the book Framed.


John Pinder – the godfather of Australian Comedy

John Pinder (at left) is pictured with his partner Roger Evans at the Last Laugh in 1979. Photo Michel Lawrence

John Pinder had a genius of talent spotting. He just knew when someone had IT! And there were lots of them with talent but nowhere to show off that talent. Until 1973 when he founded the Flying Trapeze in Brunswick St Melbourne, in what was then a less than salubrious part of Melbourne. But the FlyTrap, as it was affectionately known, was tiny with the stage the size of a pocket hankerchief. But it allowed John to show off his own talents for promoting unknown talent to an unsuspecting public.

The Last Laugh

Five years later he opened the Last Laugh in Smith St, one street down from Brunswick St and even less salubrious. An old dole office – and before that a bank – provided just what he needed.

Hawkes juggling

Jon Hawkes, who co-founded Circus Oz with John Pinder, struts his stuff.

I had just returned from London in 1978 when I was introduced to John and his great mate Jon Hawkes as they were launching Circus Oz. They needed someone to handle their advertising, their posters, their promotion and their talent photos. With my partner Bill Burrows we were just in the right place at the right time as John realized his dreams of turning a sleazy old dole office into a magical venue for a crazy bunch of performers, musicians, artists and waiters.

Bill and I spent five years helping John mould his ideas into ads, posters and all the other tools of the traditional communications industry into something he could sell to the Mums and Dads of the suburbs. Because, whilst John was tapping the extremes of quirky, bohemian, and often bizarre comedy, he was selling it to to Australian audiences everywhere with a hunger for something a little different – or maybe a whole lot different!

Sam and henry

John’s genius for talent spotting included the amazing Sam Angelico and Henry Maas as The Busby Berkleys

Scan 23 - Version 2

Mitchell Fairclough’s pastiche of a country musician in the Whittle family

John was a big man whose brain was never turned off. He always had a new scheme and a new way of presenting the unpresentable.

The great talent spotter

His roll-call of talent was as diverse and as crazy as he was: Los Trios RingBarkus, The Whittle Family, Hokum W. Jeebs, and a raft of now well-known names like Richard Stubbs, Wendy Harmer, Jane Clifton, Mary-Anne FaheyIan McFadyenPeter Moon and Jane Turner to name a few! 

What a time it was! And part of the magic was John’s other genius for employing the craziest funniest waiters ever seen, anywhere.

Last Laugh waiters

The waiters at the Last Laugh had a talent all of their own. Brian Nankervis ( Rockwiz co-presenter) is third from right.

John died in Sydney from cancer on May 27, aged 70. What a loss.

Mick Conway

Mick Conway was already well-known when he starred in his own show at the Laugh.

Footnote: All photos taken for the Last laugh and LeJoke were later exhibited at the Lighthouse Gallery in November 1986 as Funny Business – Photographs by Michel Lawrence and were later acquired by the Melbourne Performing Arts Museum.

In the desert with the great Tommy Watson



Tommy Watson is justly regarded as one of the greatest of his generation of Aboriginal artists. In fact , Art Equity goes one further and describes Tommy as the “greatest living indigenous artist.”

Now thought to be in his 80’s Tommy can no longer walk and has to be helped by his daughter and carer. His work however continues its march to its position at the top of the tree.

Tommy is considered a first contact Aboriginal, raised in the traditions of the nomadic desert people before contact with white men. He later worked as a stockman and a labourer before taking up painting around 2001 and has since blossomed into a master of colour and form.


His works feature vibrant blues, oranges and whites, colours that don’t exist in the deserts of Central Australia but have great power and vibrancy. They are more abstract than many of his contemporaries and while using the dot style are not as ordered and patterned as other traditional artists.

Tommy is now represented by Chris Simon at Yanda Art in Alice Springs and Tommy has been painting on the large 5metre canvasses being produced at Yanda. His works are finding a ready market in Asia and Europe for large sums of money, proving his status as the leading Aboriginal artist.

Tommy is pictured with his latest work in the dry creek bed behind Yanda Art in Alice Springs.



See the new Indigenous art DVD from InsideArt.tv available for schools: insideart.tv/education

See also: www.insideart.tv


All of Us

All of us was a simple idea: showcase Australia’s incredibly diverse cultural makeup through portraits of all those Australians who were not born here.


The idea grew from the race riots which occurred at Sydney’s southern beachside suburb of Cronulla in late 2005.

Michel began photographing multicultural Australia in early 2006 with financial assistance from the Victorian Government with the support of the then Premier Steve Bracks and followed by ongoing support from his successor John Brumby.

The project garnered support from as number of individuals and foundations along with funding from the Australian Government.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 9.34.24 pm

All of Us, published by Scribe Books. ( Now out of print)

The end result was a major exhibition in Melbourne’s Federation Square for Australia Day 2008, officially launched by Premier Brumby with a book launch at Australian Galleries some two weeks later.


The official launch of All of Us at federation Square, Melbourne Australia Day 2008.

The exhibition travelled to india in 2010.

All of Us became a complete package of communications materials- not least as a complete revamp of the VMC website which now houses the photographs from both the All of Us campaign as well as the more recent Indian Aussies.


Marketing material for the Victorian Multicultural Commission for Diversity Week.  


Cover of TimeOut magazine with featured article on All of Us.

Visit the VMC: http://www.multicultural.vic.gov.au/

Sir Sidney Nolan showingnhis playful side with a Ned Kelly mask.

Sid Nolan Framed

Michel Lawrence’s portrait of Sid Nolan as Ned Kelly is just one of 100 of Australia’s most prominent painters, sculptors and print-makers photographed over a ten-year period from the mid-1980s until the mid-1990s.

The photographs were exhibited at Australian Galleries Melbourne and Sydney and published as Framed-Portraits of Australian Painters published by Hardie Grant. The book is now out of print but can be found sometimes on Ebay.

Framed-Portraits of Australian Artists by Michel Lawrence

Elwyn Lynn, The Weekend Australian’s art critic wrote:

“You can have wonderful fun, whether you want to treat these photographs as slightly satirical or evidence for the analyst.”

In a review of the book Framed, Richard Guilliatt writing in Good Weekend recalled:” …Nolan was stiff and unresponsive until the photographer pulled out a prop for him to pose with- a cardboard cutout that resembled the Ned Kelly masks of Nolan’s famous paintings.”

And the leading Australian art historian, art critic and curator who has published some twenty books and over two thousand articles, Emeritus Professor Sasha Grishin of the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences wrote in his Canberra Times review: “… at his best, Lawrence is a great photographer.”

The photographs are in numerous private and public collections including the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, The National Library, The Museum of Modern Art at Heide, The Queensland Art Gallery, Melbourne University, numerous regional galleries and a number of private collections.

Above: Portrait of  Sid Nolan- photographed by Michel Lawrence enjoying himself as Ned Kelly. This photo is in a number of public and private collections most notably at The Museum of Modern Art at Heide, which is where of course, Nolan painted his ground breaking Kelly series.

You can view Michel Lawrence’s photo of Lloyd Rees at the National Portrait Gallery

Arthur-Boyd-Back-to-Camera-800x800Michel Lawrence photographed Arthur Boyd at Shoalhaven, looking towards the river.

Donald-Frienmd-portraiot-by-Michel-Lawrence-from-the-book-Framed.This portrait of Donald Friend was featured in the Donald Friend Retrospective at The Art Gallery of New South Wales and was also the featured portrait in the book, Donald Friend by Barry Pearce,

David-Larwill-portrait-by-Michel-Lawrence-from-the-bvook-FramedDavid Larwill in his studio.


Funny Business

During the late 1970s and 1980s I produced a large body of work for record companies and music promoters but most especially for John Pinder’s game- changing comic venue The Last Laugh. Pinder was a genius.. Way ahead of his time.

The photos included band shots of Nick Cave and The Boys Next Door, one of Australia’s most influential groups. I knew then Nick Cave would be a star. But several of his bandmates have not survived him. The photos were exhibited at Robert Imhoff’s Lighthouse Gallery in Prahran in 1984.They are now in the Performing Arts Museum at the Arts Centre, Melbourne, the largest specialist performing arts collection in Australia.

The first record cover photo session of The Boys Next Door. Nick Cave is third from left. On his left is Roland Howard, Mick Harvey to his right.

Scan-26-800x532Ricard Boulez was both a performer and sometime waiter 

Last-Laugh-waiters-photo-by-Michel-LawrenceThe waiters at bThe Last Laugh were half then fun! 

MICK-CONWAY-AT-THE-Last-Laugh-494x335Mick Conway from captain Matchbox


Tracy Harvey from the Whittle Family


Pete Farndon – who founded the Pretenders with Chrissie Hynde.

Pete was a great mate. I miss him.


Indian Aussies

The Indian Aussies photographic project  commissioned by The Australian Foreign Affairs Department has just been re-printed following almost two years on constant exhibiting across major Indian cities. Indian Aussies was commissioned in 2010 following the success of the  All of Us exhibition to India in 2009. The result: 85 photographs of Indians living in Australia to demonstrate the contribution that Australia’s Indians migrants had made to the country.

A tour of India began in New Delhi featuring 2metre tall exhibition prints in December 2010, continuing through 2011 and into 2012. It is now continuing following a reprint to replace damaged prints.

The project was shot on a Nikon D3x to produce the portraits with a big enough file size for the large scale reproductions. The results proved to be even better than the previous exhibition shot with transparency film using a medium format Hasselblad! A great result for digital  technology.


As well as the touring exhibition the portraits were displayed in a website designed and built by us for the Victorian and Australian governments. The site also also featured video interviews- produced by us- with a number of the Indian Aussies. We also produced an Indian Aussies blog which carried the photos to accompany the exhibitions.

At top, Joginder Singh at the Woolgoolga Sikh temple, northern NSW.

NOTE: Indian Aussies is now touring southern Indian cities and its been on show somewhere in India for the past 18 months.




Is It Art?

Inside Art, the arts television program launched on Channel 31 in mid 2012 and is now being screened in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide as well as Melbourne. The show sees Michel Lawrence move from stills photography to TV presenter. The new program presents art from the artists’ perspective. Inside Art has proved a strong performer on C31 with steadliy increasing viewer numbers and the blog, www.insideart.tv also seeing solid growth each week.


The program consists of three main segments, Artists-In-Residence where artists talk about their work in their studios, Making Art which shows art being produced ‘en plein air’ and even in bronze foundries and Private View which features gallerists, auctioneers and administrators discussing the latest issues in the arts.

The program is now screening as segments on the Big Screen at Melbourne’s FedSq and in Sydney at Westfield’s  Chatswood Shopping Centre.



InsideArt is now also an educational program with 8 completed DVDs targetting secondary and tertiary art students. The video is now also available as direct downloads and soon will also be available with the SeeCue technology which allows instant searching by text in video.



Visit the website: http://www.insideart.tv/

All of Us

Michel Lawrence’s ‘All of Us’ project began as a statement about racism and an attempt to demonstrate what multiculturalism really meant to Australians.


Beginning with a large scale exhibition installed on the exterior walls of the CrossBar building in Melbourne’s Federation Square, All of Us had many iterations including a tour of India for the Foreign Affairs Department. The exhibition was launched by the Victorian Premier Mr John Brumby, for Australia Day 2008. The subsequent exhibitions were launched in India by Premier Brumby and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith.

The photographs first appeared in All of Us, a website used to promote the project and were then used in a huge array of materials from the 240 page All of Us book published by Scribe Books to magazines and newspapers around the country, to TV commercials and the Victorian Government’s Multicultural policy book- for which it also borrowed the title All of Us. The photographs also formed the basis of a large website we designed and built  for the Victorian Multicultural Commission.

Federation Square, Melbourne, VIC

The Fed Square Installation of All of Us.

View the 7.30 Report on All of Us:


Lavender Bay revisited


Brett Whiteley’s iconic Sydney Harbour paintings are among three chosen by Wendy Whiteley to feature in a release of new fine art reproductions on The Stock Rooms website. The new site, which launched on December 3, features artworks from leading Australian artists, photographers and sculptors.

Michel Lawrence photographed Wendy Whiteley in her Lavender Bay home where the originals were painted 40 years ago. The portrait features on both The Stock Rooms website and the Stock Rooms blog as well.

The house maintains the views of Lavender Bay although the giant Moreton Bay Fig which was below the balcony line when Brett painted there has now grown significantly to obscure the views a tad!


We asked Wendy why she chose the Lavender Bay paintings:

“People like them! They’re beautifully done reproductions.”

You can also see the portrait of Wendy as well as the video interview with Wendy on The Stock Rooms website.