To Be You, or Not Be You?

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OK PersonaAPP, what would you suggest I become today?
Yes, this is the latest personality modification tool that anyone over 18 years of age can easily access from the App Store, for a remarkably reasonable fee.

So how does this rather spiffy technology work? Well, without boring you with all the rather complicated and quite technical details, let’s focus on how you can use it to your advantage in both your personal and corporate life.

Step 1:
Once downloaded, open the PersonaAPP on your mobile phone. Please tick the box stating that you agree, and fully understand the plethora of T&Cs regarding the unscrupulous behaviour that you are about to voluntarily undertake via the use of this technology. If you are worried about the potential consequences, relax, because all your friends are also deviously using it without any moralistic second thoughts!

Step 2:
Take an honest photograph of your face with all visual enhancements completely removed. This means no make-up, glasses or monocles. For best results, men (and some women) should have a shaven face. Those with false teeth, it doesn’t matter if you leave them in or out as the clever PersonaAPP does make some allowances.

Step 3:
The PersonaAPP will now require you to truthfully answer some pertinent questions regarding yourself, and your personal objectives for at least the next 3 hours. Why the 3 hour time period? Well, the Melbourne university researchers that developed PersonaAPP determined that an individual tends to change their outlook, and short term expectations on life in 3 hourly time blocks. That’s why paragraph 4.3.2 in the T&Cs recommends that the user refreshes their photograph every 3 hours as your appearance will most likely have changed, or become a bit scruffy.

In your confidential user profile section, you can record private information about your age, sex, sexual preference, height, weight, Myers-Briggs personality profile, whether you like soy milk chai lattes with honey, wearing kilts and eating kippers for breakfast. You will then be asked about how you want to be perceived by those that you interact with in the next 3 hours, if they will be predominately male or female, their approximate age,  and the meeting environment. Yes, authentic answers are required, otherwise the results will be skewed erroneously.

Step 4:
Now press the red Persona Modification button and immediately your calculated optimum profile will be shown on your phone. Your photograph will now be stylishly photo-shopped indicating how you should comb your hair, apply make-up, add/remove blemishes, the style and colour of the monocle or spectacles that truly complements your face, hair/wig colour and length, or which razor blade is best for total head shaving. A suggestion of clothing will also be provided with images so you can fully look the part. Yes, don’t worry, instructions are even included on how to tie a bow tie!

But wait, there is indeed more. Another brilliant feature of the PersonaAPP is the vocabulary and accent recommendation suggester where a collection of cunning, and particularly intriguing, words and phrases are provided for you to nonchalantly utilise during your meeting. However, a word of caution regarding the use of an accent, once you start using it, you need to have the confidence to maintain the facade for at least 3 hours, otherwise you may not be viewed as you intended.

Yes, with PersonaAPP you will obtain the ideal persona that you are searching for that will make you irresistibly appealing to those that you meet in the next 3 hour time period. Relax, because with PersonaAPP you can reset your personality for the following 3 hours, and for each hour, every day. Yes, you can be a chameleon for the rest of your life with PersonaAPP should you want to, as can all your acquaintances who may also be using it, so all your relationships could be happily false, but then again, who would know?

But, remember to make sure that your phone if fully charged, otherwise you will need to be the natural you, and who knows what might prevail in that situation?

This is Your Captain Speaking

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It’s brilliant how there is a lock on the plane’s cockpit door these days! If only the passengers knew the truth!

Would you like some ice with your Macallan whiskey, or are you having it neat like I am? By the way, do you have a light for my Gurkha Black Dragon cigar, I haven’t quite mastered the smoking technique yet and the damn thing keeps going out.

Yep, I love being a Boeing 737 pilot, this is indeed the best job in the world!

What? It’s my turn to talk to the passengers? No problem, I think you have had a tad too many Jack Daniel’s as you are starting to slur your words, and might just give the game away. No problem, I’ll do it. Can you give me the microphone? What flight number are we again, oh yes, VA346 travelling from Brisbane to Melbourne.

“Hmmm, this is your captain speaking. On behalf of the flight crew, I would like to thank you for flying with Virgin Australia, as we know you have a choice of airlines. We will shortly be starting our decent into Melbourne and should be arriving at the gate in about 30 minutes. We trust you have enjoyed the flight and we look forward to seeing you next time you fly”.

Phew! I’m glad that’s over! I almost forgot that I was a Virgin Australia pilot and was about to go into my well-versed Qantas script by mistake. We really should get management to put a visual reminder on the TV monitor so we know which airline we are actually flying for, and also the flight number information. I do get confused with all these airlines they ask us to be drone pilots for, particularly those East European ones!

How about a game of cards? If I recall I beat you quite well at poker last time we played? What, you don’t think there is enough time before we need to take control of the remote controls and actually land the real plane? No problem, could you hand me the microphone again?

“Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you that we have been placed in a holding pattern by the control tower at Melbourne airport owing to another plane declaring an emergency. We are not sure how long we will be delayed, but it could be a while. We will provide further updates when they come to hand. In the meantime, please relax and our delightful flight crew will come through the cabin with yet another round of wonderful refreshments.”

That should give us about twenty minutes of playing time, would you like to deal the cards, or shall I?

Comment: Next time you fly, ask yourself, is the Captain actually on the plane, or sitting in a comfortable leather chair many miles away flying via drone remote control from their home whilst sipping a whisky,  smoking a cigar and wearing their pyjamas? Now that’s what I call innovation!

Hat Induced Creativity

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As the days get colder, the highly calibrated temperature sensor on the top of your head signals that some personal thermal protection may indeed be required. Now depending upon the hairocity concentration of your free flowing follicles, some individuals may not be the slightest bit concerned about the impending climatic cold change, whilst others with a large abundance of heat radiating skin will rapidly adopt the adornment of a suitable item of frabrical barrier resistance.

But with closer inspection, the observer will notice that head thermal fortification is chosen by all people, regardless of their follicular ability, age or sex. Yes, it seems that everyone wants to wear a hat. At first consideration, the process of selecting the right hat for your head would appear to be linked to fashion, warmth, or perhaps comfort, but no, this is surprisingly not the case.

In an obscure study recently published in the latest edition of Vogue magazine by some rather curious PhD students at a rather fashionable university in Melbourne, a theory has been proposed that has sent shockwaves through the millinery community. Apparently, the choice of one’s hat has a direct correlation with the creativity of the individual wearer, with some hats signalling extreme innovation tendencies.

Now, for any HR Managers reading this blog post, this hat theory provides a unique opportunity for you to effortlessly improve the innovation tendencies of those working within your corporate office with the simple placement of a hat upon your employee’s heads. But wait, not just any hat will suffice!

Those curious PhD students reported that the following hats provided the greatest innovation benefit:

The Beret: This remarkable hat has been providing creative inspiration to the wearer for centuries*, just consider the vast array of famous actors, painters and other wise individuals, so QED on this one!

The Beanie: For extreme cold environments, this hat reportedly provides the optimum thermal protection. The wearer also has numerous opportunities for creative personalisation via the selection of many colours, and the bigger the pompom on top, the more innovative the individual.

The Corner Tied Handkerchief: For some strange reason this hat has greatest favour with the English, particularly in the summer months. But should you meet someone attired with a white decorative hankie on their head in winter, well, these people will be extremely different and unique, so much so that some caution may be required prior to any interaction.

Yes, there are many other hat choices, but to foster a culture of innovation in your business that is foolproof, the beret and beanie are proven catalysts of creativity. So what are you waiting for? Go out and place a hat on your head! You will be warmer, stylish, wiser and many thoughts will start to quickly permeate, well, so says the theory developed by those curious PhD students, and I believe them!

 

*https://thinkingfuturethoughts.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/its-the-stalk/

The Masterly Tram Innovation Plan

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In 1967 a document written by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board (MMTB) was officially stamped “Strictly Confidential” and was granted Restricted Access under the Australian Secrets Act for a period of 50 years. A few weeks ago, this document titled “A Plan to Enhance Tram Commuter Innovation via Strategic Design Disruption” was obtained under the Commonwealth Freedom of Information Laws and was promptly delivered to an eagerly awaiting Melbourne newspaper journalist.

After a few hours of detailed reading, the journalist dropped the heavy red leather bound 100 page document onto her office floor with a loud thud in a state of total astonishment and disbelief. She had just read a master plan cleverly constructed by the MMTB that explained in great detail how the Melbourne tram network was designed, developed and implemented as part of a secret psychological behavioural study commissioned by a leading Melbourne University Professor.  According to this Professor, the supple, malleable mind of the unsuspecting naive Melbourne tram user could be surreptitiously modified to think creatively via the use of some simple transport network modifications. Under the cloak of innovation, the following modes of tram operation were devised.

  1.  Punctuality
    An official MMTB tram timetable was published which made the commuter think that a tram might be arriving/departing according to the schedule. But no, this was never the intention, as all tram drivers were provided with a different, totally random timetable that had no correlation with that used by the commuter.
    The Benefit: This forced the commuter to develop innovative justifications to explain why they were always late. There was also an additional bonus of suspense as the commuter never really knew when the tram was going to arrive or depart.
  1. Tram Stop
    Tram Drivers were instructed never to stop in the middle of a designated tram stop, but always a few feet before, or after it. Some were even told not to actually stop, but to reduce the tram speed to an observable calculated velocity where the commuter thought it was just slow enough not to cause them significant personal harm as they scurried for the open door moving past them.
    The Benefit: In an attempt to reduce the growing problem of commuter obesity, this provided the traveller with some daily physical exercise, and always made sure that their reflexes were primed to leap into a partially open tram door when available.
  1. Tram Seats
    When the trams were being serviced at the depot in preparation for the following days commuter allocation, MMTB cleaners were instructed to deliberately dirty up a few seats, or to make some of them totally unserviceable.
    The Benefit: The forced some fortunate commuters to joyfully stretch their legs by having the delight of standing up for their entire tram journey. It also created a competitive seat culture where commuters were strategically jockeying for the remaining usable seats.
  1. Temperature Control
    Although most trams were fitted with large windows to regulate air flow to assist with commuter comfort, many of these windows were deliberately welded shut.
    The Benefit: The majority of the Melbourne commuters had never experienced the health benefits of a sauna. Here the MMTB gleefully provided this as part of the tram service with no additional ticket surcharge.
  1. Tram Break Down
    Tram Drivers were instructed to randomly turn the power off in their trams and feign an unplanned mechanical failure.
    The Benefit: This provided the commuter with an opportunity to bond and share personal experiences with their fellow travellers whilst they were all crammed into the stationary overheating tram. It was also great advertising for the MMTB as their trams became a readily identifiable symbol of iconic transport that all frustrated and fuming car drivers could continually look at whilst they sat for extended periods of time in the resultant traffic jam.

As you can imagine, the journalist was flabbergasted at the creative ingenuity of the MMTB in their attempt to create a culture of innovation on their Melbourne transport network. But what the journalist didn’t know, was that other cities all around the world adopted the MMTB commuter philosophy and applied the psychological learnings in all their trains, buses, trams, ferries and even some airlines. Was it successful? We will never know, however, the memoirs of that leading 1967 Melbourne University Professor do record that he never used public transport and was an avid car driver.

The Thought Creation Leadership Stick

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“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”

I pondered these William Shakespeare words as I respectfully picked up my “Thought Creation Leadership Stick” and quietly acknowledged that I had just been “thrust”. Yes, it was my allocated turn to lead my fellow corporate office lunchtime walkers on a journey of fictitious discovery.

Like clockwork, at precisely 12:00 PM, those employees yearning for creative daily enrichment hurriedly assembled in the marbled office reception area eagerly awaiting the arrival of the scheduled holder of the Thought Creation Leadership Stick. Each person looked like any other typical employee, apart from the comfy grass-stained walking shoes brandishing their feet, and the small discrete hiking pack emblazoned with the corporate logo that snuggly contained a healthy company supplied lunch.

As I was now thrustfully tasked with my honoured opportunity of creative greatness, I carefully lifted the Stick of leadership authority that signalled to all onlookers the commencement of the lunchtime walk.

Off we went with an air of corporate cohesion, with me leading out the front as I mentally prepared for the numerous planned requisite creative stops. But this was not just any lunchtime walk. No sir, this was a walk in which the leader had to innovatively entertain everyone with an almost believable, yet highly fictitious, story along the way.

Each walk had an allocated duration of exactly 60 minutes, and to constructively utilise this time, I elected to take my walking colleagues along the muddy banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River. As stipulated by my esteemed position of holder of the Stick, we stopped at various picturesque locations where I creatively described the non-existent basic cave markings of prehistoric Melbourne man, the enticing smells wofting up from aboriginal campfires cooking a charcoaled selection of tasty barramundi fish fillets and yabbies, the first European naval ships equipped with copious stocks of rum soaked barrels, and the exploratory “beaming up” of our competition’s most valuable staff by the Martian aliens.

At the conclusion of the allocated walking time, we all returned to the corporate office with our FITBIT step count massively increased, our minds full of thoughtful creative inspiration, and an empty backpack symbolising a most content and happy stomach.

As holder of the Stick, I then proudly passed the leadership symbol over to a fellow colleague, which they accepted with a strong sense of humility and equally nervous anticipation.

So should you want to develop a culture of innovation in your corporate office, together with some complementary employee exercise, then may I suggest that you also have greatness thrust upon you and pick up your own Thought Creation Leadership Stick!

The Scenic Desk

Mobile-Office-1961

You have all had that feeling, it’s 3 PM in the afternoon and your motivational levels are starting to rapidly decline. Your coffee intake is becoming dangerously high, so much so that your tastebuds have now maxed out on caffeine, and you are worried that one more cup consumed will definitely impede any potential sleeping opportunities that evening. Your eyelids are closing heavily under an unknown and dreaded forced hypnotic influence as they encourage you to place your head surreptitiously on your desk and initiate an inconspicuous state of slumber.

However, relax, you don’t need to worry about this unwanted physical eventuality, as your corporate office is equipped with the latest afternoon motivational technique, that being, the “scenic desk”.

Yes, at precisely 9 AM each morning, your desk, like all the others in your office, start their journey of scenic transition that takes exactly 8 hours to complete. The process starts with the application of a quiet, yet highly powerful high velocity air current that lifts each desk (and the matching chair) an inconspicuous 5 millimetres above the floor. By cleverly changing the angle of these air currents, each office worker’s desk can be propelled in a forward, backward or sideways trajectory. An inbuilt desk computer developed by “Google Desks” charts a unique journey that traverses the entire corporate office to ensure a different, and enthralling desk experience every day, and one that naturally avoids any possible desk collision.

Following extensive R&D testing at a soon to be prestigious Melbourne University, the speed of desk movement has been calibrated at a most comfortable 2 kilometres/hour so as to alleviate any projectile g-forces that may fling the desk occupant, or items loosely residing on the desk surface, in an uncontrollable and dangerous manner. However, for those office workers that don’t worry about the residual side effects of windblown hair, or are particularly bored at work, their desk velocity can be tweaked to much higher levels (following the requisite completion of a personal liability disclaimer issued by their HR Manager). There is also a special office “ejection option” feature that can be used for those recalcitrant employees that utilises a camouflaged sound-proof one-way exit system.

Once the desk movement activity progresses, the desk owner will be enthralled as they meander with gleeful curiosity throughout the corporate office. Any thoughts of feeling tired, or exhausted, will quickly mentally evaporate as they experience new visual aspects and encounter different work colleagues along their scenic desk journey.

Like clockwork, at precisely 5 PM, their desk will arrive back at the original office location ready for the worker’s timely departure, but with them now brandishing a totally refreshed and visually inspired mindset.

So should you experience that unwelcome sensation of mental boredom, don’t reach for another coffee, just send an E-mail to your HR Manager lobbying for your corporate office to purchase the “scenic desk” system. It will change your office environment forever!

Umbrellas, Be Gone with Them!

singing in rain

It’s a most awkward feeling, and you’ve all experienced it, particularly when you encounter someone of approximately the same height. There is a momentary sigh of slight relief when the oncoming individual is deemed to be shorter or taller, the larger the difference the better, until it is quickly replaced by the mandatory manoeuvring so as to avoid any unwelcome impact.

The unavoidable cause of this precipitous, and most stressful combative environment is rain, and its presence signals the use of the antiqued protection item called the umbrella. It doesn’t matter how hard or soft the rain may be, as soon as it falls from the sky, an array of umbrellas hurriedly appears and pedestrian life on the footpath becomes mayhem.

If there were a standard sized umbrella that just provided sufficient circumferential rain protection tailored to the average individual walker, this would greatly assist with commuter meander flow. But no, some undisciplined selfish people elect to brandish a massive brightly coloured golf umbrella, designed for maximum rainfall protection, that produces a pedestrian bottleneck wherever they walk.

There must be a better system of rain head protection, and I’m pleased to say that there is, and it’s called the Aerocap™.

After countless hours of creative thinking time, the Aerocap™ is now fully functional and ready for its inaugural market launch. Its design is simple, yet so effective. It has been fashionably styled by a famous Melbourne designer (who for some reason wants to remain anonymous), and can be purchased in an array of distinctive colours, fabrics and sizes to accommodate all heads.

So how does the Aerocap™ work you may ask? Well, let me educate you.

This innovative rain protection device comes with easy to follow instructions that are listed below:

  1. Place the Aerocap™ on your head.
  2. At the first sign of rain, gently press the carefully camouflaged “start button” that is situated just under the front cap peak.
    (Note 1: for the football team beanie version, press the big pompom. Note 2: for the beret version, press the stalk).
  3. Once the “start button” has been pressed, the top of your Aerocap™ will spontaneously open and an incredibly quiet high intensity airflow will be initiated in an upwards circular direction.
    (Note: You may feel as if you are being pushed with a downward momentum, but this is normal)
  4. Any rain will now be forcefully projected away from the Aerocap™ by the airflow keeping the wearer dry and happy.
  5. Throw away your umbrella, as you won’t need it any longer!

Disclaimer: The Aerocap™ is powered by a small amount of uranium. But don’t be alarmed, as keeping your head dry in the short term was deemed by the now deceased test user as being much more important than any long term radiation concerns).

There is another benefit with the Aerocap™ (not mentioned in the instructions) and that’s the impact it has on those recalcitrant pedestrians that still selfishly carry those large imposing golf umbrellas.

When the Aerocap™ wearer walks under one of these grossly flamboyant umbrellas, there is a detection sensor that quickly increases the air velocity that may result in the umbrella holder suddenly being projected 20 feet in the air. But don’t be too concerned, as by the time they land on the ground with a thump, you will be well gone and will not hear their verbal outbursts.

So how do you get an Aerocap™?

Any classy and sophisticated hatter will sell them. If not, just mention the brand name Aerocap™ to the sales person, and I’m sure you will be given an appropriate response.

The Answer to that Male Question

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There is “a question” that has been baffling mankind for centuries, and as “the answer” was unknown, professional men all around the world reluctantly decided to play it safe, just in case they got it wrong. That is, until now!

As I sat in private solace in the world-renowned Corporate Observation Research Zone (aka the Virgin Australia Lounge at Melbourne airport), after many minutes watching my fellow travelling compatriots, the clues to “the answer” slowly became apparent. For those of you that like details, the moment of discovery actually presented itself to me after my third long black coffee.

The attraction of the Virgin Australia Lounge is the diversity of corporate inhabitants that provide a huge array of visual observation fodder. There are men of all ages, some wearing suits, others casually dressed. Some with hair purposefully positioned on their face and heads, some with a deliberate close shaved facial nudified look, even those with an upper head appearance that conforms to their hairless heredity.

“The answer” to “the question” is that it doesn’t matter where your draw that “line of separation”.

Yes, men from the time they first decided to shave have been in a quandary as to where to position that mysterious demarcation line that signifies the end of the side-burn. To make matters even more confusing, should the man be fortunate enough to have a headless head, and has a beard, where should the top of the side-burn commence?

The author of this blog post is pleased to advise that men’s side-burn fashion has now progressed to the point where no facial rules apply. Men are now exercising their innovative side-burn freedom and are letting their razors do the talking without any limitation, or fear of visual retribution.

So men, next time you are confronted with a decision as where to “draw the line of separation”, relax, the choice is indeed yours. And should you make a mistake, all is good, as the hairy, or hairless, problem will be rectified in due course by the planned arrival of the following morning, when next you look in the mirror equipped with your trusty razor.

Read My Lips

Jumbo Mumbo Doll

“Read my lips”, was the instruction.

As always, my earplugs were deeply inserted into my ear canals as I tried to block out the unwelcome background noise on my early morning Virgin Australia flight from Melbourne to Sydney.

The air-hostess, dressed impeccably in her swish fashionably styled Virgin Australia uniform was making an announcement on the PA. I heard not a word, but I understood everything that she said. Yes, I was reading her lips.

A few minutes later, I pondered why? Then it dawned on me. It was her intensely bright red lipstick. Yes, I was fixated on those lips! It wasn’t the form, nor the shape of her mouth, it was the colour. This was the beginning of a theory that needed to be tested further, and I was the man for the job.

That day, I focussed on trying to read the conversations permeating from those around me, what influenced my interest and receptivity in how they delivered their words. You will be pleased to know that I was very academic in my research. I ensured that my analysis environment included a vast number of different types of cafés, restaurants, office foyers, and a rich and random selection of outdoor locations where a full range of men and women (some nude lipped, others lip coloured) were talking. I racked up a long list of expenses on my corporate AMEX card as testament to my investigation, just in case some yet unknown university wanted to continue my research at a later date.

That night, as I sat exhausted in my lush hotel room in Darling Harbour, I collated the copious notes that I had taken throughout the day. After what seemed like hours of intense analysis, the solution became all too clear. The key was in the lipstick colour, the winner, most definitely being bright red.

Now, there is a learning here for those working in the corporate office. Should you want your colleagues to listen to what you say, or to read your lips (should they be audibly challenged, or not really paying attention), then make sure that you wear bright red lipstick as it is the visual reader’s colour of choice.

Although diversity is indeed a requirement in business, I’m not suggesting for a moment that my male colleagues adorn the bright red lipstick (Note to HR: yes, I know, not unless they want to), but a bright red pocket hanky will suffice just as well.

Yes, embellish your body with red, and you will be seen, and most definitely heard.

Words Unspoken, But So Understood

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“Click” went the camera.

“That was a brilliant pose Janice! You looked fantastic with the bright light warming you as you stood in the doorway with your arms raised. Who would have believed that it’s the middle of winter here in Melbourne and it only stopped raining an hour ago”, said Henry Talbot (1960s Fashion Photographer*).

Janice laughed. “I hope you aren’t doing a close up as the large goose bumps on my arms would want a special credit in the photograph owing to their prominence!”

The photo was taken sometime between 1956 and 1961 and it had pride of place on the wall in my corporate office. The dated dialog between Janice and Henry was completely unknown to me; however, I just loved the look of the black and white photograph. Every time I saw Janice, I smiled as she provided me with a brief moment of inspiration that momentarily took me on a mental journey into a glamorous and unknown world that mingled with her past.

A thought then arose as I pondered her photograph.

Janice and Henry were in dialog when the image was taken; they were communicating and embellished the cultural mood of their time. The photograph was a snapshot in history that I, as the observer, brought to life in my mind approximately 60 years later. Other corporate colleagues visiting my office would also see Janice, yet their fabrication of her persona would indeed be different to mine.

So what if a photographer took an image of me sitting at my desk? How would observers view me in 60 years from now? Would they comment on my suit, my bow tie, my cuff links, or my corporate image?

No, I suspect none of these, but hopefully they would notice my smile. A smile that should be responding to a business culture that was innovative, creative and one that made me happy and content. Yes, a photograph does indeed tell a thousand words. The key is a want to listen.

Now for those HR Managers reading this blog post, take note. Why don’t you walk around your corporate office and surreptitiously shoot a candid, unprompted image of your employees. Look deep into the photograph and make sure that you analyse the true and honest feelings that your colleagues are portraying. Take a range of images over time and study the trend. The true answer will be in their smile.

I again looked up at the image of Janice and once again gave her a silent nod of appreciation. “Thanks Janice for your timeless and continual inspiration”.

Image: Fashion Illustration for Sportscraft, Model Janice Wakely, Photographer Henry Talbot

* http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/ebooks/HenryTalbot/index.php?chapter=2

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