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

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fantastic FNQ photo Friday

One of the thing I often lament about 'travel photography' put out by some tourism bodies and PR agencies is that it's often 'tourism photography'. Which is understandable I guess. Getting people to invest in spending their money on attractions and tours when they arrive in a destination helps keep the local economy alive. But I often wonder whether pictures of models pointing at fictitious birds in trees with big cheesy grins on their faces is the only aspect of a region that people want to see before they decide to visit.

Frankly I don't give two hoots about whether a pretty blonde looks good sitting on a rock on the side of a pristine rainforest stream! I'd rather see the local pub owner, toothless smile and all, as he welcomes people into his friendly watering hole.

Take this image above. I was on assignment for the Mercedes Magazine covering the southern Atherton Tablelands. I'd come to Lake Eacham looking for something interesting to photograph when I noticed this young man, with another, jumping into the lake with joyful abandon. Not only did it make me want to join him, but I knew it would make a great photo. So I went down to introduce myself and found out that he was a young man with autism who was with his carer.

They were having a day at the lake and he was more than happy to do a couple of extra jumps for me to take his photo. Up until that point he'd just been doing his regular bombs but I think the attention must have inspired him because he opened up his hands to the heavens and jumped in with this fantastic pose.

Sure he'll never make a male model but he's the real kind of character I love to discover and photograph. For me the major interest in a destination is the local people and culture, and the only real way to discover that is to get out on your own and meet them.

Whilst I can value the importance of tours and attractions to keep a local economy viable, especially one that is so reliant on it as is far north Queensland, if this is all you see of this beautiful region then you're missing out on its greatest asset.

So rent a car, a bike, get out and walk. Take the time to meet and photograph the locals. You'll come away with a far better understanding of your holiday destination, create wonderful memories and even better portrait images of the people you meet.

Oh and if you're looking for some blog posts on how to photograph strangers just do a search in the little box at the top of this page. And on my website you can find more images I photographed for that story on the southern Atherton Tablelands.

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