Renowned German-Australian fashion photographer Helmut Newton took this photograph as one of an outdoor series where models were captured with symbols of modernity (cars, planes, contemporary buildings, etc) thus capturing a new image of the modern woman. This photograph shows Australian model and photographer, Janice Wakely reaching out from a vehicle on Queen Street, Melbourne. The image evokes the changing, more carefree and active lifestyles of women in the 1960s.
Significantly, Wakely had both an interest and an aptitude to photograph as well as model. Born Janice Adrienne Wakely on 29 October 1935 in Crookwell, rural NSW, she began to take photographs by photographically documenting the photographers she was working with while on location as a model. In doing so, she produced a series of shots of visiting German photographer Helmut Newton on a beach near Lorne in Victoria, and several shots of the other two major German expatriate photographers of that period, Athol Shmith in Melbourne, and Henry Talbot in Hong Kong and Bangkok.
Wakely's modelling career began after she was awarded a certificate from the Mannequin Academy in Sydney in 1952 and started modelling in 1954 - working in both Sydney and Melbourne with a range of Australian photographers. In 1956 she participated with another five Australian models in a much publicised fashion tour to New Zealand sponsored by the Australian Department of Trade and in 1958 she travelled to London, joined the Jean Bell Modelling Agency, and was named 'Girl of the Moment'. In 1960 Janice was photographed in sombre and enigmatic tones by a young Terence Donovan, then part of the swinging sixties youth-orientated 'Cockney' London new wave of photographers which also included David Bailey and Brian Duffy.
Janice returned to Australia in late 1958 (later returning again to London) and modelled for photographers Henry Talbot, Athol Shmith, Bruno Benini (all European emigres) and German-Australian photographer Helmut Newton who was then revisiting Australia from Europe when Janice modelled extensively for him on a large editorial for the German fashion magazine 'Constanze'.
In 1960 Janice Wakely travelled to Hong Kong and Vienna with Henry Talbot promoting Qantas, Everglaze and Women's Day. In 1962 she participated in the 'All Australian Fashion Parades' and modelled the 'Gown of the Year' by couturier designer Robert Fritzlaff. In 1962 Janice Wakely and Helen Homewood launched their 'Penthouse Photographic and Modelling Agency' in Melbourne.
The studio produced photographs for fashion houses, designers and retail stores including Lisal Furs, Robert Fritzlaff, Fibremakers, Sportscraft, Como Knits, Villawool Handknits, Ada Swimwear, Avon Swimwear, Sabego Furs, Baliencia, Lillian Frank, Leopold, Edward Beale, Saga Mink, Dents Gloves and Georges' of Melbourne which were published in all the newspapers and popular fashion magazines of the time including the Sun-Herald and Australian Women's Weekly. The agency also did portraits of models and journalists as well as the 'rich and famous' including a portrait of movie star Sean Connery. In 1964 Janice was named the Flair 'Model of the Month'.
Towards the end of the 1960s, Janice returned to live in Sydney and married well-known Sydney business man, Eric McIllree, founder of the Avis-rent-a-Car and owner of Dunk Island. After her daughter Justine was born, Janice turned her attention to more personal underwater, travel, environmental and back-stage theatrical photography.
Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator 2009