Favourite images of the decade

Favourite images of the decade

For me, 2019 wraps up a decade of photography and marks a little over ten years since I started Venture Photography Workshops in Fremantle.

I think it’s always interesting to reflect on the changing face of one’s works over time– to look at how one’s aesthetics changes and to notice improvements in one’s photographic approach and vision. Here are my favourite images from the last 10 years. Bring on 2020 and the next 10 years of image taking and image making!


Let’s begin in 2010, when I popped into the Pub in the Paddock in Pyengana, Tasmania. The light inside was sublime, and this local character was just at the right place at the right time.

Jeff “Burlo” Burling and his two sons. Jeff is a surf rower and sweet with Cottesloe SLSC.

From the Beach Ball at Cottesloe Beach. This image was exhibited as part of the Fremantle International Portrait Prize (FIPP) in 2011.

A magnificent performance in Fremantle that combined exotic dance with lots of fire!

I shot surf rowing carnivals for the WA Surf Rowers League from 2007 – 2012 and met a lot of great characters at the beach. I eventually published my surf-rowing images in a book entitled “Gun’s Up!”, the title of which is based on the call before the starter pistol goes off.

Visiting some friends in their home in Myalup, I asked if I could take an intimate portrait of the both of them.

I had purchased a Nikon AW1 underwater camera and experimented with it shooting in and out of the water. I was particularly keen to try and capture a half in and half out of water shot.

I traveled to Hyden to run a weekend workshop there for the local CRC; we ended up doing some light painting with local, Digga, and his hot rod.

A scouting trip with Aaron Dowling way back in 2013 to the Great Southern brought home many stunning landscapes of this very beautiful part of Western Australia.

My first trip to New Zealand in 2014 and a visit to the water willows at Glenorchy during a  particularly overcast day created eerie, dramatic images.

In 2015, two friends and I embarked on a two month trip through Italy and Greece. It was a most remarkable adventure. On our last stop in Italy, before we took the ferry across to Greece, we decided to shoot a funny scene on the top of the trullo (a traditional home in Puglia) in which we had rented. This is it.

Taverna o Platanos in the old town of Poros in Greece was empty, save for this local who was having  a smoko. There was something in the moment here that caught my eye — perhaps it was the man’s nonchalance and his complete immersion in his cigarette smoking.

On the island of Hydra in Greece, cats line the waterfront every morning waiting for fishermen to return with their catch. As a bit of a cat person, I was completely entranced by this — the cats behaved perfectly, all waiting in line for a tidbit thrown from the boats.

Another image from the island of Hydra that really resonated with me. I spotted the lamp post and the scene beyond and thought that it looked so much like a scene from yesteryear. Then, almost serendipitously, this gent in a coat and hat walked into the frame!

Running a tour to East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory was an eye-opening and mind-expanding experience for myself and our guests. We learned so much about the Yolngu people and their culture and formed very close bonds with them while there. This is Marcus Lacey, a teacher and very significant man in his community, showing us the mud flats at Nyinyinkay community.

While exploring an abandoned hotel during a tour that Aaron Dowling and I ran in Bali, I was reminded of Japanese horror films, where there’s always something a little uncanny and eerie about the way scenes played out. It was the perfect opportunity to use this environment to create something with a sinister mood.

You couldn’t ask for better light on the winter morning when I went shooting at Noble Falls in Gidgegannup. The golden rays made the cascades sparkle with magic!

The Nikon AW1 has another outing, to Coogee Beach where I photographed my friend Steve “Marra” Marijanich and his son Ben at play in the water. Ben is now 17 and very tall. How time flies…

While location scouting in Sardinia, we visited the mountain village of Mamoiada to learn about the masked Mamuthones performers. We met Massimo, a Mamuthone, who showed us the costumes that transforms him from man to a terrifying, furred figure from pagan mythology.

Another with the AW1; I’ve always wanted to capture a beard flick in the sea!

This is one of my favourite portraits of my friend, Steve, taken after he had returned from a camping holiday with his family in the Pilbara. He really rocked the Outback Jack look!

A truly delightful moment from the photography tour to Madagascar which I ran with my friend, Lynn Gail. We had stopped at a village near Andasibe and within moments, the village kids had all come out to say hello. It didn’t take long for them to begin playing with us and asking for their picture to be taken!

There was so much happening at the time this image was taken, so many different elements that grabbed my attention as we climbed the steps to the main gate at Amer Fort in Jaipur, India. Sometimes, it’s all about the moment when things serendipitously just “click”.

Sometimes, life events can get quite heavy and serious, and you need some time off to put some distance between you and whatever life seems to be throwing at you. I had gone for a short holiday in Queensland after a series of difficult life events, and spent a few days in the beautiful Glasshouse Mountains.

I was in Pingelly running a flash workshop for the Pingelly Photography Club. Steve was one of our  models and what a character he was. 

I was in Beverley to run some workshops for the Beverley Photography Group and had teed up a shoot with a local friend and her husband. I had the idea of recreating Frederick McCubbin’s “Down on his Luck” in a photograph, so in the evening, we traipsed into nearby mosquito-infested bush, to capture this scene.

A snowy surprise greeted us on a photography tour I ran to the South Island of New Zealand. As we headed towards Arthur’s Pass, we entered a winter wonderland. A stop at Castle Hill led to amazing photographic opportunities.

I fell in love with the small town of Korcula in Croatia, when I visited three years ago. While wandering the streets one morning, I came upon this scene that looked as if it could have existed a generation or two ago.

Taking this shot required a lot of patience, as I had set my tripod up on a wobbly boardwalk at Plitcive Lakes in Croatia, and had to wait for other visitors to clear the boardwalk before I could trip the shutter for a long exposure. The Plitvice Lakes are absolutely stunning — a series of lakes connected by cascades and waterfalls and surrounded by lush green forest!

I have so many fond memories of the photography tour I ran to Italy a couple of years ago. We had a great group of photographers who were all willing to immerse themselves in “la dolce vita”. The light one evening in Florence, as we shot the Ponte Vecchio, did indeed turn the bridge pure gold!

A tender moment captured during our photography safari in Kenya. I had this printed and hung in my parents’ home, and they love the image.

The Altai Mountains in Western Mongolia is home to the Eagle Hunters — Kazakh Nomads who train eagles to hunt. On a visit there last year, I had the opportunity to see and photograph these hunters in action. It’s certainly breathtaking stuff!

I’m often drawn to unusual candid moments that make for interesting compositions. While running the “Lens on India” photography tour earlier this year, we visited the Monkey Temple near Jaipur, and this happened!

Photography in India is so rich and rewarding. There is no moment that you capture that is not replete with emotion and meaning. This was taken at the Ganga Aarti in Varanasi, where a sadhu (holy man) gives his blessings to a donor.

As a photographer, nothing can be more exciting than coming across a combination of great subject in great light. This is one of those moments, in Varanasi, India

I think it’s important for photographers to approach each potential shoot with an open mind. Having a preconceived image in mind can sometimes hamper the imagination and make you miss possible visual triggers. This was taken during our Balingup Photography Weekend in May this year; we had visited a local dam which was known to be enveloped in mist in the mornings. Unfortunately, there was no mist, but there was this scene that just begged to be shot.

Any photographer in WA who hasn’t visited Karijini needs to do so. The rugged, red-rock landscapes are absolutely amazing and for the creative and wandering eye, there is much to be found in the vertiginous landscapes there.

I’m a sucker for anything cat, so coming across lion cubs on this year’s wildlife photography safari to Kenya pushed all the right buttons. This picture made the list simply because of the cuteness factor!

I remember coming across this scene in the mountainous town of Chefchaouen in Morocco and it struck me as a painting come to life!

Travel, for me, is about being open to possibilities in new landscapes; in this year’s photography tour to Morocco, we spent time in the Western Sahara, where the morning sun kissing the sand dunes brought plenty of opportunities for abstract images.

Photographers sometimes talk about the”visual trigger” — something that catches our eye and makes us take a photo. This was a visual trigger moment while I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in October this year. For me, it was a combination of the position of the boats and the placement of the boatmen, as if they were deliberately posing for a hero shot. 

Good things come to those who wait. I’ve often told photographers who travel with me on our tours that when you find a great location with great light, you need to wait. Patience, grasshopper, as a wise man once said. And things can and will happen.

I enjoy taking landscapes with a telephoto lens because longer focal lengths allow me to simplify compositions. 

Sometimes you find a landscape that just takes your breath away and you then work hard to capture that feeling or emotion in your image. While at Sarah Ann Rocks in the North West of Tasmania in November, I stumbled upon this scene; the surging waves and coloured rocks reminded me of something out of a shipwreck film.


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