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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Where it all started

What do you do when you're in a foreign city, it's pouring with rain and you just don't feel like photographing? Well if you're anything like me you head to the bookstore.

Well one particular trip to a certain bookstore in Bangkok changed my life. After killing sometime with my wife at the movies (don't forget to stand up for the National Anthem!) we came out to find it still pouring with rain.

So we hit a bookstore with quite a good collection of English books - seeing as our Thai isn't so flash hot. And I came across a book by a guy named John Shaw. An American nature photographer, his latest book back then was on the subject of running a nature photography business. Aptly titled The Business of Nature Photography it's quite a large hard-covered book. A quick flick through it and I knew I had to buy it and carry it around the world with me.

You see my wife and I were just starting out on a twelve month journey around India, Nepal and South East Asia. I was taking photographs with the dream of becoming a professional travel photographer but had no idea how to get there. John's book put me on the right track.

It taught me about how to approach magazines, how to create a catalogue of my images, how to store my images... basically everything I needed to get started. It also taught me the very important point I made last week about learning how to write to really get ahead in this field. So even though it's a bit old now (nobody uses DOS computer systems anymore!) many of the things he writes about are still very pertinent today.

Nature and travel photography are a different beast from large-scale commercial and advertising photography. You're working in a small, niche market where everybody seems to know everybody. This is a great introduction to how it all works. Not only that but it is full of some of the sharpest, most beautiful images you will ever see. I don't know if there's a sequel coming out, but even if there isn't I would definitely recommend you take a look at this great book. It has pride of place on my shelf and a little inscription I wrote on the inside front cover:

Bought in Bangkok Thailand
August 10th 1998
In the hope that one day I too will be able to make a living doing what I love.

To all those who have the same dream I wish you the best of luck!

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