Negative depicting a man modelling beach wear

Gervaise Churchill Purcell1950s

Australian National Maritime Museum

Australian National Maritime Museum

These negatives were taken by Gervaise Purcell (1919 - 1999) from the 1940s to the 1960s. He worked as a commercial photographer for the Monte Luke Studio in Sydney before opening his own studio in 1952. His images of swimwear for clients, including swimwear manufacturers such as Jantzen and retailers David Jones and Hordern Bros, blended modernity with Australian beach culture, carefree leisure and a touch of luxury.

Purcell was responsible for all aspects of the fashion shoot from photography to selecting the props, locations and hiring the models. In the 1950s he used a Graflex Crown Graphic camera and flash gun mounted on a tripod which took large format sheet film. While on location only two or three exposures could be taken of each swimsuit as film stock was vulnerable to damage by the elements. After the shoot the images would be proofed and retouched if necessary for the client to make their final selection.

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  • Title: Negative depicting a man modelling beach wear
  • Creator: Gervaise Churchill Purcell
  • Date: 1950s
  • Type: Negative
  • Significance: These photographic negatives were taken by Australian commercial photographer Gervaise Purcell from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. They represent his work for clients such as swimwear manufacturer Jantzen, as well as retail giants David Jones and Hordern Brothers, cruise ship operators the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O), radio technology manufacturer Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA) and tourism operator Ansett Airways. Many of the images were taken with a Graflex Crown Graphic camera in the 1950s.
  • See institution's online collections: http://www.anmm.gov.au/collections
  • Medium: Negative
  • Dimensions: 163 × 118 mm
  • Credit line: ANMM Collection Gift from Leigh Purcell