Athol-Shmith was born in Melbourne and first thought of following
a career as a musician. He had an amateur interest in
and through doing publicity shots for a musical show in 1932, decided
on a professional career in photography. He set up a studio in
Fitzroy Street, Melbourne, in 1933 specialising in portraiture.
Shmith extended his studio work into the fashion and advertising
fields. By this time he was exhibiting work in local and overseas
salons and had commercial work published in magazines such as Table
1938, Shmith moved to a new studio in Collins Street and gained a
reputation as a leading professional photographer in the
of social portraiture, fashion and advertising and theatre work.
In 1945 he developed with B. Alston Pearl the “Camera Graph’ continuous
flow film or “Photo-finish” camera for horse racing.
1950 John Cato, the son of Jack Cato (q.v.) became co-director
of Shmith’s studio. The studio was increasingly associated
with zestful, creative fashion photography but Shmith was also
involved with a breakaway group concerned, like the “Six
Sydney, with lack of interest shown by the institutes in any
photography other than glamorous commercial work.
1968 Shmith helped institute the photography collection at the National
Gallery of Victoria and continued as a member
committee once the photography department was established.
In 1971 he was appointed senior lecturer-in-charge of the
Photography, School of Art and Design at Prahran College
retired from the college in 1979 and prepared a monograph on his
work to be published in 1980. He also worked on a
series of portraits of judges of the High Court of Australia.
text based on Gaël Newton's Silver & Grey
Angus and Roberston, Australia 1980
Culture Victoria - web page on Athol Shmith
Wikipedia entry - click here