Garretts first job was as assistant to the stills photographer on the Stanley Kramer directed movie On the Beach made in Melbourne. The job had a defining influence on his whole career. The opportunity as a 19 year old to work with professionals with an international reputation, not to mention the chance to hang out with the big stars like Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Gregory Peck was a unique opportunity and set high standards right from the start. It was a mind opening experience to see the big world out side Melbourne.
1960 to 63
Worked on large variety of work from a garbage bin catalogue to Fashion magazines. Whilst doing so he developed the techniques that formed the base of his later work
During that period he was considerably influenced by the photo stories of Life and Paris match magazines. The superb spreads in Vogue and Bazaar by Avedon and Penn were an inspiration also.
Another defining moment in Garretts career was joining Australias top fashion and advertising studio Helmut Newton & Henry Talbot. Helmut Newton was enjoying great star success in Europe and Garrett was chosen to replace him at the precocious age of 23. He worked for Vogue and all the top advertising agencies, winning many awards on the way.
Awarded ACIAA photographer of the year 1964.
The first international supermodel Jean Shrimpton comes to Australia to promote Du pont. Garrett was chosen to shoot the advertising campaign and this was another defining time in his career as it led to his moving to London in 1966.
Moved to London in the middle of the "swinging sixties". Working as a fashion Photographer on all the young trendy fashion magazines of the time and also working hard on advertising illustration.
Another defining moment in Garretts career was connecting with the eminent journalist John Pilger. They worked together on big current affairs stories for 30 years. The meeting was pivotal in a dramatic change of direction. Very few photographers have ever been able to move across from successful fashion photographer to top reportage photographer. But reportage had always been Garretts first love. The stories included Poverty in Britain; The Berlin Wall; The War in Northern Ireland etc.
The India/Pakistan war was another defining moment because it led to Garrett being contracted to Paris Match for a very happy 70's spell. Assignments followed from most of the International current affairs magazines Time/ Life; Paris Match; Sunday Times magazine; Stern; Observer etc. Garrett also travelled extensively with his family shooting the travel pictures that formed the basis of his stock library.
Another change of direction and another defining moment Garrett and Julian Calder wrote and illustrated The 35mm Photographers Handbook - a how to do it book that sold two and a half million copies (second largest selling photography book of all time).
A very busy and varied decade. Garretts work appeared very regularly in the colour supplements of the Sunday papers. He worked on a great number of corporate assignments during that period.
Garrett moved into directing TV commercials. The first one in 1986 won an award and led to directing 30 more. He enjoyed working with film crews and the money paid the school fees etc.
Garrett also wrote several more successful photography books during the 80s.
Income from royalties and stock sales enabled Garrett to work on his own projects including the Royal Ballet's Cyrano, an extended photo story of the making of the ballet from day one of rehearsals to the opening night at the Royal Opera House. The shoot lasted 5 months and formed a major exhibition at the opera house and was syndicated in magazines world wide.
The collaboration with Pilger continued. Three more books came out of the 90s also.
Garrett was selected as chairman of selectors for Ballantine's photo awards. His duties included pr for Ballantines doing TV and radio interviews and lectures around the world: New York; Mexico City; Sydney etc.
The rapid change in technology has meant that in order to continue as a working photographer I have had to get involved with digital and to appreciate that that the camera and the computer are now equal partners in the creation of photographs.
I must admit that I did resist this change for some time but have now embraced digital technology as a friend rather than foe. In fact I have rediscovered the fun of colour photography and am enjoying the extraordinary creative potential or Photo shop and Light room. I still love the darkroom and continue to make traditional prints, believing that the bromide print has a glow that the digital print can’t match.
Since the turn of the century I have continued shooting assignments and writing books. I guess that I always will.