Jun 06, 2024

Love Through the Lens of a Camera: Ted’s Journey from London Fashion to Australian Retirement

Love Through the Lens of a Camera: Ted's Journey from London Fashion to Australian Retirement

Ted was a professional photographer in the 1960s, working in a busy studio in London, spending part of the week travelling back and forth to Paris for photo shoots.

Capturing glamorous fashion models of the day, he always had a new girlfriend every week, commenting that he seemed to change his girlfriend’s more often than his socks back then.

Until the day he met Joanne, he described her as a sweet, innocent, sensitive angel and knew from the first moment he set eyes on her that she was the one!

Joanne was a model just sixteen years old, fresh from school and as naïve and as green as you could get, although she did know about the reputation of young, good-looking photographers, and her mother had told her to keep well clear.

Even so, it would appear that fate had a hand in always matching Ted and Joanne up on fashion shoots, and eventually, she agreed to have a drink after work with him. They talked for hours, drinking babycham and gin and tonic.

Ted described his passion for photography as being a second sense, that when he was behind the lens of a camera, it was akin to being transported back to another dimension.

The moment the click came to capture what he had seen in his mind-eye, he knew the photograph would last forever.

Joanne was mesmerized by Ted’s dedication to his work, and he made it sound almost magical, feeling that she had stepped into a Narnia-type existence when she was talking to him.

Those moments shared would be the beginning of courtship and romance only seen in the movies, sharing dates between London and Paris when Ted was on a shoot.

Ted would take endless pictures of Joanne in many situations and poses, recording their romance every day so she would never forget him. They became inseparable and soon became engaged, with Ted proposing in the most romantic place at the base of the Eiffel Tower.

The opportunity of a job with Vogue Australia in 1962, and the couple took the bold step of moving to Sydney; Joanne signed with a modelling agency and found some work in and around the city.

They rented a small two-bedroom apartment in Epping and were blissfully happy; Joanne became pregnant in 1963, after a difficult delivery, and gave birth to a daughter, Lauren, who would be their only child.

After several years in the city, they moved to Gerringong, NSW, to live a less hectic life.

Ted told me it was here that he lost his true love in 2005 when Joanne contracted cancer and died the following spring.

Lauren moved away to pursue her career in law to WA, and Ted, at seventy-seven, chose to live in residential care to receive the care and attention he missed so much from his beloved Joanne.

He tells me he still takes photographs the old-fashioned way, with the trusted Pentax single-reflex camera. Ted brought out a large box and lifted the lid to reveal hundreds of an assortment of black and white and coloured photographs.

These are my pride and joy, Ted said with great gusto; we spent the best part of the afternoon looking back at the memories, every picture telling a different story.

By holding a photograph, you are embracing a piece of history that was never to be repeated. Ted loved the tactile effect photographs provided, which gave him comfort and the ability to reminisce.

Joanne lives on through my memories of all the images taken over the years; she is with me when I look at every picture and always will be in my heart and mind. Ted takes photographs as a return ticket to a time that otherwise would be forgotten.

 Ziad K. Abdelnour, is quoted as saying, Life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important. Capture the good times. And if things don’t work out, just take another shot.”

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  1. Another beautiful story told by Michael, thoroughly enjoyed it and, having lived through the sixties, it brings back lovely memories too.
    More stories please.

  2. Great story Michael. You can really feel that Joanne and Ted were meant for each other, and how Ted’s love for Joanne was expressed through his love for photography. While Joanne is no longer with him in the physical, Ted can feel his love for Joanne through a lifetime of wonderful photographic memories. Photos are indeed a window into the past, and allow us to reminisce on the way things were, and more importantly to love those who may not be in our lives anymore. Love the quote at the end. A camera doesn’t judge, it just captures the moment. In our hearts we can do the same.


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