GRAEME WEBBER - An Introduction
Graeme Webber is a photographer. Not just any ol' photographer, mind you. He's one of Australia's pioneering rock music photographers, with his work having graced album covers, posters and promo shots throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
His photographic work, spanning the most decisive years of Australian music's evolution, incorporates many of the greatest names in the development of Aussie Rock history: AC/DC, Australian Crawl, Kevin Borich, Chain, Richard Clapton, Coloured Balls, Company Caine, the Dingoes, Renee Geyer, Marcia Hines, Hush, Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons, Little River Band, MacKenzie Theory, Sherbet, Skyhooks, Split Enz, Matt Taylor, Billy Thorpe, Stevie Wright, John Paul Young, etc.
Although he certainly wasn't the first in his field, his work has always been innovative and illuminating. More importantly, he was the first Australian rock photographer to publish a book of his music industry photographs: Australian Rock Folio (Pentacle Press, 1976). It was a unique collection of images which recorded the personalities and events that helped make the Australian music scene of the day so vital. As writer David N. Pepperell described it in his Foreword: "I believe he has assimilated the ethics and ephemerality of rock 'n' roll brilliantly".
Graeme was also part of the beautifully illustrated book Under the Covers: The Music Graphics of Ian McCausland, Graeme Webber & Steve Malpass, by Ed Nimmervoll (Electronic Pictures, 1998) which was launched in association with the Performing Arts Museum at the Victorian Arts Centre.
And here's the interesting thing about Graeme: he trained and originally worked as a graphic designer, so he has a remarkable eye for detail. He works so closely with his subjects that he can bring out intuitively not only the heart and soul of a performer but also the sound of the music.
He's the guy who photographed and designed the infamous AC/DC Lock Up Your Daughters Summer Vacation Tour poster (1975) featuring a devilishly grinning Angus Young beaming right out at you, and which has been reproduced subsequently around the world ad nauseam. Graeme took the photo at an impromptu session in the toilets of Altona North Technical School, July 1975, before an early AC/DC gig.
Graeme also took the iconic photo, from the same Altona North Tech toilet session, of a devilishly grinning Bon Scott, unzipping his jeans to reveal a new bluebirds-and-floral tattoo just above his pubes. The image became the subject of an episode of the wonderful ABC-TV series Face Painting with Bill Leak.
Oh, by the way, just to show that he's not all about rock music, Graeme has also provided corporate, graphic and photo design for clients such as the Melbourne Theatre Company, the Victorian Arts Centre, the Australian Labor Party, the Australian Ballet, TAB, the Australian Cricket Board and RMIT.
So that's Graeme Webber, the professional photographer and talented graphic designer. So what about Graeme Webber, the person? He's laconic, down-to-earth and honest, and when not dedicated to his work can be found taking a healthy interest in doing unhealthy things. Two of his favourite sayings are "Photo Ergo Sum" and "Get on with it!". So why not get on with it and delve straight into his web site right now!
Ian McFarlane - Author of "The Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop"
Most people closely involved in the creative side of the Rock industry play an instrument or have a musical background of some sort.
Graeme Webber is not one of those people.
He had a close friendship with some musicians, but it quickly became obvious he was basically interested in what the picture of them looked like, and there was no chance he would bail them up after the session with something like "hey man, I've got this great idea for a song."
Graeme, being very pro Australian, was lucky enough to be involved in what music guru Ed Nimmervoll describes as "the most decisive years of Australian music's evolution - from the album as an album, to the arrival of the CD."
He was surprised to find he'd worked on well over 70 covers, many iconic.
But "time just flies when you're having fun" he says with a chortle.