Steve Parish on 50 Years Photographing Australia

Posted by David Ozanich — 8 Dec 2010


The Age profiles nature photographer Steve Parish (seen above with his bird photo rig in 1976 in a picture by Gavin Blackman) who has been capturing images of his native Australia for 50 years.

For many, Parish is the Ken Done of Australian photography. His images of sunsets, waterfalls, waves and cute, furry animals adorn every postcard stand from the Freycinet Peninsula to Fremantle. Done may have the quilt cover and tablecloth market cornered, but few match Parish's dominance in calendars, coffee table books and diaries.

The Done analogy holds on two levels; both have managed to turn their creative pursuits into highly successful and profitable brands. Parish's ratio of passion to profit is simple: ''I take two images to pay the bills and one to sustain me.''


He has a new book out called, unsurprisingly, "Steve Parish: 50 Years Photographing Australia." But, after 5 decades, what he really likes doing is teaching the children:

Each year Steve Parish travels to Melbourne to hold photography workshops with schoolchildren at Healesville Sanctuary. The idea, says the veteran photographer, is to impart the skills he has honed over 50 years of capturing Australia's flora and fauna.

More often than not, however, it's Parish who gleans tips from his charges. ''I watch these eight-year-olds with their digital SLRs, doing layered Photoshop and loading their images onto the internet and I mean, I think of when I was eight. I had a point-and-shoot camera, an antique by today's standards. I had no idea what I was doing.''

Meanwhile, interested parties can check out a 54 image slideshow of his work at The Australian. His official website is here.


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