Black and white 5" x 4" negative showing a number of retail workers serving customers in a hardware store in the 1950s. Various goods are displayed around the store, including kitchenware, cleaning equipment, stoves, gardening equipment and seeds, and baskets.

This image is part of the Laurie Richards Collection at Museum Victoria comprising approximately 85,000 negatives taken by the Melbourne based Laurie Richards Studio between the 1950s -1970s. These negatives are all mostly large format [5"x 4"/ 12.5 x 10 cm], black and white images, though a significant number are in colour. The many photographic jobs that were undertaken in the course of thirty years are itemised in a set of log books, copies of which are also held by Museum Victoria.

Laurie Richards was a professional photographer who began his career as a photo-journalist, working for the Advertiser newspaper in Adelaide, and the Argus and the Herald newspapers in Melbourne. In 1953, he opened his own business and set up a photographic studio at his home at 4 Tower Avenue, Alphington, an inner suburb of Melbourne. At its peak, in the late 1960s, the Laurie Richards Studio was one of Melbourne's pre-eminent commercial photographic studios, employing twelve photographers. The Laurie Richards Studio worked mainly in advertising and public relations, and had a broad clientele which included commercial companies, government institutions and the entertainment industry.

Description of Content

A number of retail workers serving customers in a hardware store. Various goods are displayed around the store. In the foreground at left is a long counter with a cash register at one end, with a male retail worker serving a male customer. Perpendicular to this counter is an extensive wall display of goods, with a man and woman standing behind a display table serving a woman customer with a small child. Further along, in the top right of the photograph, a man is standing behind a display table, serving a woman customer. A display of stoves stands around a column in the middle of the store.

Physical Description

Black and white 5" x 4" cellullose acetate negative.


Because of the breadth of both the subject matter photographed and the diverse businesses which commissioned the work, and the excellent documentation that accompanies the collection, the Laurie Richards Collection at Museum Victoria is an invaluable record of Melbourne's commercial and industrial past and as such gives an insight into the social history of that period.

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