THE SWINGING SIXTIES came a little late to Sydney, remembers David Mist. “It was much more conservative here,” says the British-born photographer, who moved to the harbour city in 1961. “It all came a good deal later than in London.”
But by the time he took this photo in the late 1960s, the great cultural upheaval had begun. And who better to document Australia’s own liberating ‘youthquake’ than a hip snapper from the Capital of Cool, who worked for Harper’s Bazaar and Tatler magazines, and played with David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton?
David re-created the scene in Sydney, joining the Le Guay and Nisbett photography studio and renaming it Studio Ten, after his former London base, Studio Five. And he enjoyed the burgeoning nightlife, too: “The Cross [Kings Cross] was vibrant – you could go out dancing in clubs and bars, and the personalities of the city… It was fun in its day.”
The era-defining quality of David’s work was soon recognised, and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences now holds two collections of his prints, negatives and transparencies, along with the cameras he used, newspaper clippings and correspondence.
In 1968 David was commissioned to create Sydney: A Book of Photographs, which features this photo of Milsons Point train station at the northern end of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
“There’d been this iconic image Laurie Le Guay had taken many years before called The Queue, and it was of a bus queue, all the personalities in it,” explains David. “And I was in a car on the Bradfield Highway, and I stopped – you could do that then – and saw those people standing on the platform. I thought they were quite unusual and took the image. It captured a little bit of the time.”