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 90 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.
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.
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 and portrait photography, cutting edge printing, photo restoration, archiving and medico-legal photography.
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.