A few words about Kurt, by Kurt ...
(Just the 1st 30 years)

Halo, as they say back in Europe and the story begins in pre war Latvia.

Latvia was then a young and free country, we had become independent in 1918 from Russia and in the town of Kuldiga on the river Venta with the longest waterfall in Europe a boy was born, by the name Kurt-Igor on the 24th of June 1931 - Midsummer Day - St. John's Day. By all rights I should bear the name Janis, Latvian for John. Latvia was re occupied by Russia in 1940 and we escaped Stalinism in 1944 to Berlin - a new hornet's nest with the Allies bombing the shit out of us. As the second World War came to an end, we were left as D.P.

Displaced People high and dry and COMMUNISM ruled in Latvia for the next 50 years.

By good planning, my father had manoeuvred our family to the safe part of southern Germany and the American sector as the War finished in 1945. After lots of moves from D.P. Camps in Munich, Mannheim, Heidelberg etc. and scores of schools I finished my high school education. This was a great time for me in every aspect. My father decided it was time to move once more.

This time to Australia. So to another camp in readiness for immigrating - then Genoa in Italy and on to the ship Castel Bianco. A ten quid and a two year work contract and off to Sydney Australia.

On a sunrise on the 29th of May 1949 we entered the Sydney Heads and at 5 pm we disembarked at Pyrmont 13 on to a train to Bathurst ex Army Camp. I was 17, young fit and ready to take on the NEW WORLD and I did so unconditionally (from rags to riches!). There is nothing greater than being young and full of optimism. I achieved most things that I set out to to do, there is always in hindsight but that's life.

First two years were a cinch, went from firing goods train engines to Orderly at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, all meals included, a massive bonus after War years of starvation. Time well served, now total freedom...

Countless faceless jobs followed in search for fame and fortune. My High School English a big problem to my Uni aspirations. ART yes ART, no language barrier to stop me in my tracks, yet no money to get going full time so correspondence was the go. After a year not much to show for my efforts - the light downed. Work by day and study by night.

A year later and still not great results? - finally the solution - work at night and study full time by day. The Old Darlinghurst Jail in East Sydney was the answer. Fine Art &Design catapulted me on the road and I never looked back from then on. I gained immediate success in retail advertising at the fashionable Farmers department store, then the leading fashion house in Sydney. From there in to National Advertising. W.B. Lawrence was Sydney's only true fashion agency and I landed there as junior Art Director. Best job in town. Later on to Lintas, Mc Cann Erickson, etc.

My father won 12,000 Pounds in lottery and gave me 1,000 Pounds which I invested in my first photographic studio - at 333 George Street, opposite Martin Place, right in the C.B.D.

In 1961 we moved to Melbourne and I joined Chanel 9 in Richmond as designer and subsequently designed most sets for "In Melbourne Tonight." It took me two days to design the weeks lot and the rest of time as a freelance Art Director in national advertising. I Art directed a lot of fashion accounts of the day and met most of Melbourn's Photographers in doing so.

As it happened I was the only Art Director with a Fine Art & Design background and much in demand. In 1963 I opened my first Melbourne photo studio, in George Parade at the top end of Collin Street and subsequently moved to the Church in Lennox Street in Richmond. We arrived at the right time and the right place and we all benefited of the great time that just had started - let it all hang out, and why not?



My childhood was spent in the gardens that surrounded my grandmother's house. Lots and lots of different species. Some tall, some big and bushy and had beautiful trunks, leaves and endles coloured flowers that turned in to seeds of all shapes and sizes - I could but marvel of the diversity, the scent at different times of the seasons. I used to climb all of them to their very tops and hide, so no one could ever find me. I gathered the colourful leaves and pressed them in books, as for the seeds I tried to beat the birds and the animals to get to them first.

There was and still stands a huge Linden tree as old in time from the 1600's. This grand, grand old daddy of them all, when in bloom was the ladder for swarms of bees and we gathered the Linden blossoms to dry and use in cold winter nights as a deliciously fragrant tea.

My uncle was a forestry scientist, us kids often accompanied him to the different forests mushrooming or berry picking - or just him inspecting trees or taking count of the game or birds.

Yet in the world we live today, we tend to totally ignore most of the above that I have mentioned. We fell trees as if there is no tomorrow, rip out old forests, clear bush, cut trees in our suburban streets, destroy whole habitats that birds & bees - let alone the rest of animals and the myriad things that live on the ground below trees and the forests of our world.

If I can bring it to the attention of people and institutions for a moment, we all the creatures of the Planet EARTH will be the better off. That's it in a nutshell.