Henry Talbot, born Heinz Tichauer (1920 – 1999) was a German-Australian fashion photographer noted for his long association with the Australian fashion industry.
Born in Germany to Jewish parents, he studied graphic design at the Reimann School in Berlin. Henry first travelled to London, England under pressure from rising tensions. There he worked as a window-dresser at a department store. After the ‘Kristallnacht’, Henry’s father Max was detained, but having won the Iron Cross in WWI, Max was released, and subsequently Max and his wife fled to Bolivia.
In England, Henry was interned as a German National by two plain-clothes policemen and later shipped to Australia on the Dunera. During his internment in Hay in New South Wales, Henry practiced his artwork and studied in the camp ‘university’ established by the internees.
Upon release in 1942, Henry joined the Australian Army, in which he served until 1946, loading and unloading goods trains at the New South Wales / Queensland border, where he established a close personal friendship with fellow German refugee Helmut Newton. After the War Henry refreshed his studies of graphic design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Henry then visited his parents in Cochabamba, Bolivia, practicing art and reviving his pre-war interest in photography, winning a local photography prize.
Returning to Australia in 1950 Talbot worked as a photographer, setting up a Melbourne studio in 1956 with Helmut Newton. The studio specialised in fashion and advertising. During this time, Helmut declared to Henry that he was “going to move to Europe and become the greatest photographer in the world”, and asked Henry if he would look after the studio in his absence. Henry agreed. Helmut left Australia permanently in May 1961, opting out of the informal partnership with Talbot (paid out with ‘two thousand dollars and two cameras’), and established himself in Europe while Henry took over the business of a company named Helmut Newton & Henry Talbot Pty Ltd which was formally registered as a company 28 June 1963 and operated at Bourke Street until April 1966, when it moved to La Trobe Street, operating until 1976.
Talbot photographed various Australian Olympic figures, including gold medallist Dawn Fraser in the Olympic pool in Melbourne during 1956; Franz Stampfl, whom he knew through the Hay internment and who trained Roger Bannister for his four-minute mile record; and Gael Newton. Other famous Australian models included Penny Pardey and Judy O’Connell, house models for Pierre Cardin, in 1967. During this period he was commissioned by the Australian Wool Board, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Kent Cigarettes and General Motors, among other brands.