'Richard Farrell' circa 1948, Brake, Brian (1927–1988), New Zealand. Collection of Wai-man Lau. Te Papa
Brian Brake's first job after leaving school was as an assistant to Wellington studio portraitist Spencer Digby. It was a good foundation in the craft of photography under a hard taskmaster. When Brake once asked in frustration why they couldn’t use a light meter, Digby replied: ‘You’ve got eyes, boy, use them.’
Out of work hours, Brake used the studio to take photographs like the ones shown here, entering them in photographic society competitions. He favoured a strongly-lit style that re-emerged decades later in his photographs of museum objects.