Bridging the era from Cazneaux to Digital

The Monte Luke Photography Studio in Sydney has a fascinating heritage that stretches back over the most extraordinary 102 years the Central Business District (CBD) has ever seen, from the gaslight era to the digital technology of the present.


Actor, silent movie cameraman and photographer, Monte Luke was a contemporary and friend to many famous Australians including architect Walter Burley Griffin and legendary photographer Harold Cazneaux.

During this period, Cazneaux chronicled the changing face of Sydney.

At the same time, Monte was chronicling the faces of the city – including that of Harold.

Monte was not only a portraitist. He accompanied Burley Griffin on his journey to survey the site which is today Canberra, recording that historic expedition with what was even then regarded as an ‘old’ movie camera.

Nevertheless, it was largely on portrait work that the Monte Luke Studio established its wide popularity and reputation for excellence.

Photography Studio in the Sydney CBD specialising in corporate photography, executive headshots, LinkedIn profiles & restoring damaged photos

For over three decades, Monte and his long time associate Frank Froud recorded a fascinating passing parade of subjects, ranging from Royalty and Vice-Regal functions to famous local and international theatrical, sporting and political personalities.

Among these were the Queen and Prince Philip, Governors General Lord Dunrossil and Sir William Slim, Sir William Dobell, dancer Anna Pavlova and many more.

Just as important as the socially prominent and famous of the era were the many debutantes, business people and families who also flocked to the Studio.

When Keith Friendship joined Monte Luke in 1989, he brought a fresh eye and great photographic skills to enhance the Studio’s already enviable reputation.

He also brought a similar passion for personal attention to each client’s session. As did Monte and Frank before him, Keith treats each assignment as a totally unique experience – from the point of view of both subject and photographer.

As technology evolved, Keith started using a combination of film and digital photography and ever more sophisticated cameras and printing techniques. Since 2003, digital has been his preferred photographic medium because of its enhanced immediacy and convenience, while still delivering the same quality image as film photography.

Today Monte Luke Photography Studio specialises in corporate portrait photography and photo restoration.

Over the years the Studio has tended to house itself in distinctive premises such as the original Theatre Royal, the Strand Arcade and the Hardy Bros building.

The Studio is now in a classic Victorian warehouse at Level 2, 2 Barrack Street, just down from the corner of Clarence Street in the Sydney CBD, a 2 minute walk from Martin Place.


Keith Friendship

Since 1989 I’ve been shooting high quality corporate, marketing and editorial photography for clients throughout Australia for Monte Luke Studio.

My corporate clients range from small businesses to multi-national blue-chip companies, and include magazines, PR and design agencies. The images I can provide you with are ideal for use with all media, from print to web based applications. I always welcome the opportunity to show potential new clients my work – if you’re based in Sydney, drop me an email or call to arrange a meeting.

Despite 30 years experience, I still treat each shoot as an individual and unique assignment. Knowing the facial expression and body positioning that will show you at your best, and how to put even the most camera shy at ease, I can ensure that you will relax into getting your best shot.

The studio is just a few minutes walk from Wynyard Station and Martin Place, offering you convenience, a private space, professional lighting options, a variety of background screens and the ability for you to view and discuss your images on a studio monitor as the shoot progresses, actively involving you in the process. I can also come to your premises if preferred and have portable lighting and screens for this purpose.

Your time is valuable and though every shoot is individual, on average you need 15 minutes for a studio shoot. Your preferred image will be selectively and discreetly tweaked – with the benefit of many years experience in this area – rather than using an overall retouching programme which can result in a ‘too perfect’​ or ‘plastic’​ image.

Once finished (usually same day) your digital image is then made available to you to download from a password protected area of our website, a secure yet ‘no fuss’​ delivery method.

It is worth the investment to get the best possible results!

The other very different but equally important side of the business is in photo restoration. You will be amazed at what we can achieve with even severely damaged originals – and we love sharing in the delight that restoring seemingly lost memories brings. I have plenty of examples to show you, so please call for an appointment.

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