I came to photography and in particular landscape photography without any particular lifelong interest in, or passion for, photography or the arts. I had never wanted to be a photographer and from a very young age had my heart set on a career in the Air Force. Consequently, in my earlier professional life, I pursued paths entirely unrelated to photography. Rather, landscape photography came about as I sought a better work-life balance, and looked to combine a passion I have for the environment and my love of the outdoors. Ultimately landscape or nature photography is a terrific excuse to get out and see some fantastic parts of the planet, and also share it with others. Personally, I love the experience of being on top of a mountain in a remote area as a new day dawns or as the sun goes down of an evening. It’s an awesome and inspiring experience, in a stress free environment – a real escape from the fast paced pressures of modern society. It’s also a chance for a healing reconnection with nature and a link to what a less populated and polluted world must have been like many years ago. Through my photography I thus try to capture photographs that enable viewers of my images to experience these moments.
Despite the above, I’m often asked whether I photograph weddings. No, never, not even been tempted. I chose to establish a landscape photography business that sells landscape images from around the world for a few simple reasons. One of those reasons alluded to above is due to what I think about the state of the world we live in. I believe that the modern civilised world has gone a bit… well… wrong. So here’s a modified (by me) extract from a recent Snowgum promotion which rang true for me, and seemed to sum up my feelings on the issue quite well:
For thousands of years, the human race has been connected to nature, by planting and rearing food by experiencing the extremities of weather; by breathing the air cleansed by the trees. Problems is, we don’t really do that stuff anymore.
Our world has become more and more regulated, more and more virtual. We live our lives in 23 degrees of filtered air, detached from the world, separated by glass and pixels.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying that all modern things are bad. I love my iPhone as much as the next person.
All I’m saying is that we all need to get out there from time to time and get a blast of the real world, to feel fresh air on our faces.
To feel excitement, to get some mud between our toes, smell new smells and tastes, not available in the food court.
Why? Because it’s fun.. and.. it’s what we are meant to do. And yes, there’s probably lots of good sciency stuff and masses of psychologists’ data to back up this big theory. But, I don’t really bother to much about the science. I just kind of know it’s true.
And as anyone who’s experienced a trek around Asia, who’s taken off for a weekend in the mountains, pitched a tent by a river, or been for an ocean swim at sunrise will know, being more connected to the world not only makes us feel great, but every time we do it we become, ever so slightly, better human beings.
So what’s this all got to do with me and my business? Firstly, landscape photography allows me to do what the above extract highlights, getting back nature, being a bit more connected to the natural world. Secondly, I firmly believe we all need to be reminded about these issues. If people can have one have a print up somewhere, a picture or memory that is special to them, which reminds them to get out into the great outdoors — terrific. That way, everyone can share the passion. Enjoy the world you live in.
On top of all of the above, my landscape photography business gives me great pleasure knowing that I can bring images of some of Australia’s most scenic and iconic places into the homes and offices of people worldwide. The feedback from people once they have got the prints home and up on their walls is terrific… it makes the effort of all those early mornings up well before sunrise to trek out to just the right spot — especially when it’s snowing and blowing a gale — that much more rewarding. While photography for me is a great excuse to get out and travel, my images are ultimately the result of research and then lots of patient hours spent outdoors, exploring, learning, feeling, and seeing to find the right composition. It’s then great when everything comes together and I get great weather and light, enabling me to capture images I’m happy with. There’s thus a lot of time and physical effort that goes into capturing many of these images, not to mention the early mornings. All that said, I enjoy every minute of the outdoors regardless of whether I capture the images I want.