Goodbye Freo, Hello….The Bird House

Craig Cooper News

Ok, this is a very long overdue post. I’ve been editing the website today and suddenly realised how as we’ve started to use Insta and FB more and more, this ol’ blog has become sorely neglected.

As in, apart from an update about Covid-19, nothing much has been published in the past four years! Now, it’s not as if nothing’s happened in that time: In fact it’s been pretty much action packed!

Firstly, there have been some changes to our full time staff with a new photographer and production team. Both Velvet and Shaun have joined us in the past four years.

Velvet is a multi-talented photographer and artist, and as well as doing great work behind the camera, she’s also our production manager – in charge of getting our artwork to our customers.

Shaun is our specialist retoucher and assembler – he’s got a great eye for detail and a skilled and subtle approach to retouching which leaves our images without an obviously retouched look, while still lifting them to the next level.

More recently, we’ve also welcomed Robyn Cusack into the fold. Robyn is a very well known double-master of photography. Quite the coupe for us. Now, you know that cliche about the mechanic having the worst car? Well, we haven’t yet coaxed Robyn in front of one of our cameras. So her pic and bio will have to wait!

The other big theme over the past few years has been our search for a perfect new studio. Knowing that our lease over the South Fremantle studio would expire by late 2019, this kicked off in late 2017 with us joining the photographer’s collective known as Pearse St Studio, in North Fremantle.

This was an amazing location and our first foray into having multiple studios (we kept operating the South Fremantle Studio, too). It provided a great learning platform where we experienced both the advantages and pitfalls of operating two studios. But alas it wasn’t to be.

Just a few months after moving in, the owner of the building decided to exercise a “redevelopment clause” in the lease, which meant that he could take back possession in order to renovate the site. It’s since been completely gutted. Back to South Fremantle we all went, and the search continued!

Full forward to 2019 and I broke my leg. Ok, that’s a bit random, but the upshot was I had a lot of time to sit on the couch and think through our next move. With my leg in a cast, I started plotting and making calls. And I found The Bird House!

We opened The Bird House in Melville late in 2019, and between then and early 2020 we moved our operations from our South Fremantle Studio to our new site.

The Bird House is a free standing lifestyle studio in the format of an ultra-modern three-storey luxury home. As well as our traditional lit studio work, it presents opportunities for outdoor photography and beautiful natural-lit boudoir and family photography in our third-storey room, “The Aviary”.

A couple of months ago, I also made the sad decision to close the South Fremantle Studio – our headquarters for almost thirteen years, and the venue for some six thousand photo shoots. I had contemplated continue to operate both venues, but we no longer had a secure lease and the building had reached a point where major renovations (and some hard negotiations!) would have been needed in order to remain.

This was sad and a bit emotional for me, but we’ve made the right move.

As I write this, I’m sitting on the third floor of our new studio, pretty chuffed with how things have worked out. The Bird House is a great studio, a great place to entertain our customers, and a comfortable, modern and inspiring workplace.