“So you’re visiting Australia’s Red Centre and you want to know what there is to see and do. Time, money and interest are all likely to make you selective but the last thing you want to feel at the end of your adventure is that you’ve missed anything.”
…….And so begins the next book – my 17th to date – and the first in a new series of travel books I’ve begun creating in 2021.
We’re talking 100 photographs and 40 short stories (about 150 pages I guess), presented as a stylish, hard cover, coffee table book that will look something like this (starting with a thumbnail of the front and back cover).
With 80% of my business previously generated overseas, this virus sees me looking into my own backyard to keep busy and, after a quick spin around Queensland, I’ve decided to head to Central Australia and work on the first book in the series.
Unlike my most recent publications on The Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea, I’ll also be writing short stories about things that interest me while I wander – the area’s main attractions, its indigenous culture, the people I meet and some of the exceptional experiences it has to offer. The book will be the same size as the others I’ve done (22cms x 22cms), though it will be both a travel guide and a photographic souvenir for visitors to central Australia.
Of course, the region – and indeed the project – is not new to me as I wrote my first travel book on The Red Centre more than 10 years ago (below). It sold out and I meant to update it but I got somewhat distracted running around with my cameras in the South Pacific (suffice to say, I won’t need my underwater gear for this trip).
While, I’d like to think my photography has come a long way since I was last there (at very least, I’m no longer shooting with film), I’m particularly excited to be taking more time on this project (a luxury I’m rarely afforded on assignment, rushing around from one photograph to the next). It will give me the opportunity to research and write about my subjects more deeply and spend more time with the people I meet. As a photographer, I expect to be able to study my surroundings, get a bit more creative in interpreting my subjects, and, importantly, wait for the right light.
And I’m liking the early design of the new book. The sample pages above give you a sense of what it’ll look like. Think textured stock, a journal feel, inserted with opaque pages and splashes of spot varnish. The intention is to produce a visually rich publication – a warm, inviting book that will go some way towards discovering and capturing the experiences that can only be found by travelling inland to the heart of Australia.
As I wrote earlier, assuming the success of this template, I expect to publish a series of similar books. I’ll look to return to north-Western Australia and combine the two books in my popular Pocket Guide series on The Pilbara and The Kimberley. Abroad, Sarawak and Bali will be the first cabs off the rank, where I’ll spend up to three months in residence gathering material for the publications.
……that is, once I’m allowed back out.
If you’ve read this far (hi Mum), here’s a bit more of what it will be about:
“I should point out from the outset that this book is not meant to be a definitive guide to Central Australia; it’s an introduction – a traveller’s companion if you like – with plenty of photographs to help you decide where to go, a reference to the best places to visit, helpful advice and information on subjects I think might interest you during your trip. It also has some entertaining yarns, a few tips for photographers and some reading suggestions for those who want to journey beyond the limits of this book.”
I’m planning to be there in April. Plans are afoot.
Post Script: it’s now three months later and I’m still waiting for a decision from Central Australia’s regional tourism authority to decide whether it will become involved in the project. If I don’t hear back shortly, I may have to shelve the project.