July 12, 2011

Peter Carrette Ten questions Caroline Overington From: The Australian July 11, 2011

Stuart Hannagan is vice-president, Australasia, and director of photography Asia-Pacific, of Getty Images, which last week purchased the pictorial archive of the late Peter Carrette and entered into an agreement to digitise and manage the century-old Fairfax Media archive
What was your first job in media?
Photographic cadet at the Adelaide Advertiser. From there I moved to the Sun News-Pictorial and the Herald, in Melbourne. A couple of years later, I joined The Age as sports photographer and later picture editor.
What does your current job involve?
To grow our business across all platforms (stills, video and music) and to ensure we are client and sales focused. My other day-to-day role (director of photography, Asia-Pacific) is looking after all editorial coverage throughout the region. We have a photography unit of over 25 staff (and growing), and work with hundreds of freelancers serving customers in over 100 countries.
Your company last week announced the purchase of the Peter Carrette archive. What is it, why did you buy it and how much did you pay?
The Peter Carrette archive is simply the best celebrity archive in Australia. Like all collections that are over 30 years old, it is filed away in boxes in print, negative and transparency form.
There are also over 200,000 digital files on hard drives. Bringing the archive to life involves working through all the old prints and negatives and digitising the collection. We don't elaborate on what we pay.
Also last week, you announced a deal to manage the Fairfax archive. There must be many images that you regard as treasures in there, but could you single some out?
The Fairfax collection extends back to the early days of newspaper photography, so it's a challenge to single out just a few. There's the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge back in 1932 and the Queen doing the honours at the Opera House in 1973. Images documenting the end of WW II, the Dismissal in 1975 and the 1988 Bicentennial are also standouts. And every great sporting moment is captured, from Phar Lap to Sir Donald Bradman.
When The Age sold its Spencer Street headquarters it was reported that Fairfax had abandoned the archive and that it had gone to ruin. Has that proved true?
I'm not sure this is the case, as the material we have seen is first class and very in-depth. Like many of these old archives, there does come a time when they need to be upgraded and loved more deeply and I believe that is what Fairfax are now doing as part of this process.
Do you personally miss being at the business end of a camera? And who do you regard as Australia's best photographers?
I do sometimes, although I get as much joy now out of seeing new talent come through as I did out of viewing my own work. Australia has so many great photographers, it's difficult to single any out, but here goes: Brett Costello, Gregg Porteous, Phil Hillyard, Steve Christo, Michael Dodge, Colleen Petch, Vince Caligiuri, Jason South, Cameron Spencer, Quinn Rooney -- too many to list.
And finally, do you miss the old Age darkroom? The wild tales of what went on in there, back in the days of chemical prints . . . Are they true?
Caroline, you were there, you should know! Yes I do miss the days in the darkrooms both at Fairfax and News Ltd. There were some amazing characters around in those days and it was a great place to learn your trade. And yes, I can recall some outrageous stories from the darkroom days.