Rob Imhoff – Documentary Interview

Posted on Dec 10, 2015

How one of Australia’s greatest commercial photographers built his extraordinarily successful career.

In this half-hour documentary interview, Robert Imhoff discusses his distinguished career as a Photographer and Film-Maker, spanning more than 40 years and saw him photographing models, motorcars, planes, packaged goods and prime ministers.


Portrait of the former Australian Prime Minister John Howard by Robert Imhoff.

Like so many photographers, Rob’s career began when his parents gave him a Kodak Brownie Box camera to record the Melbourne Olympic Games. In the early 1960’s he attended the art-orientated Eltham High School and in 1968 he left RMIT Photography School to assisted prominent Australian advertising photographer Brian Brandt.

Imhoffs cameras

Just a few of Rob Imhoff’s well-used tools of trade.

In 1973 Rob got his first big overseas break working on overseas assignments and soon established a global client base. In 1976 he started his own company Robert Imhoff Photography (RIP) Productions in Melbourne and soon commenced directing commercial film productions. In 1978 he became the first Master Photographer of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (M.AIPP).

In l982 he opened The Lighthouse Photographic Centre in Prahran. The Lighthouse housed photographer’s offices, four studios and the Lighthouse Gallery. 1985 he became a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (F.AIPP). In 1991 he was invited to write a foreword for the prestigious international ‘Graphis Photo 91’ annual. In 1992 he became Patron to the society of Australian Commercial & Media Photographers (ACMP), a position that he still holds. In 2003 he was judged the Australian Institute of Professional Photography Australian Advertising Photographer of the Year.

Ruth Cracknell Photo by Rob Imhoff for - Mayfair hams (8x10 Ektachrome) Wedderburn General store museum(140813)crop+clean.2

Rob Imhoff is perhaps best known for his commercial portraiture. Here in this classic Imhoff portrait he has captured the great Australian actress Ruth Cracknell for Mayfair hams . Photographed on a large format (8×10 Ektachrome) at the Wedderburn General Store .

In 2004, owing to a major illness his professional career was halted, since then he has only undertaken occasional personal projects.

In 2006 he was made an Honorary Life Member of the Australian Commercial & Media Photographers (HLM.ACMP) In 2010 his portrait ‘Cinematographer – Keith Wagstaff’ was a finalist in the Monash Gallery of Art (MGA) Bowness Photography Prize. In 2011 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (Hon. FAIPP).

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.05.06 pm

Portrait of the highly acclaimed cinematographer Keith Wagstaff by Robert Imhoff.

His retrospective exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat demonstrated Imhoff’s extraordinary range and depth of work.

In this conversation, Rob talks about his influences, his work and his experiences including his relationships with some of the world’s most important figures of his chosen genres.

Rob Imhoff portrait by Michel Lawrence

Rob Imhoff photographed at The Art Gallery of Ballarat by Michel Lawrence

A Life of Pixels and Grain is now available as an educational DVD from InsideArt. Click here for more:


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *