Because of the links Australia still had with the UK (much faded today) we knew what was going on, even if it took months for pictures to get here (magazines particularly). We also knew about Avedon, Stern, my favourite Septic photographer Irving Penn, and others in the US.
I used to get a lot of visual information in the late-’60s from photo annuals, very much dependent on the editors’s choices, and wish I still had some of them. I went pro about 10 years later. Ah, nostalgia.
A problem young photogs face these days is the sheer over-abundance of visual imagery about; role models must be harder to pick these days. There is still a lot of superb work being done, but so much more sharp, well-exposed dross is on display.
Yes, I also owe a huge debt to Popular Photography Annual and Popular Photography Color Annual of the late 50s/early 60s. These were rather difficult to run to earth in Scotland; I found mine in Glasgow Central Station at the large kiosk that was there in those days. It was where I discovered Sam Haskins, Ernst Haas, Bert Stern, Penn, Avedon, W. Eugene Smith (and part of his Pittsburgh epic) and a host of other people that marked me for ever.
Other sources of interesting people were the Fawcett and Whitestone Publications productions, where I met Peter Gowland, Peter Basch, Russ Meyer and several other good shooters of the day. During the 60s early 70s US Playboy was also a source of good photography.
Whether the huge volume of work to be seen today has much to do with it, I’m not so sure, I think it’s more a matter of money. In the G.O.Ds, there was plenty being spent, and that was the lubricant that allowed everything else to function. One could actually dream of going off to shoot something in the Bahamas, the Seychelles or wherever, and a client would eventually turn up to give your mind a ticket. It seems that those sorts of things are far more rare today. Magazines are also less able or willing to send people to the four proverbial corners, and so the shooters who might be new influences on the young seldom get the chance to develop.
Another thing about it, during that period it was the photographer who was thought of as king – there was an undeniable sexiness connected to being one, and a fashion photographer in particular. This from people quite outside the business. Now, everybody knows about models like Gisele and Kate, but hardly anything about the guys who make them look good.