Photo-journalist Don Fuchs spends much of his work time shooting hospital buildings for the NSW Department of Health, which is just about as far away as you can get – both geographically and in terms of the subject matter – from the images featured here.
There’s no doubting which he prefers. Don, a Bavarian who came to Australia in 1995, has been photographing Australia for 20 years. “The light here ranges from extremely difficult to glorious,” he says. “It is so different to the soft light in Europe.”
The rich palette of colours reflected in these images reflects the extremes of Australia’s climate and environment from the red rock of Mungo National Park to the muted pinks of a sunrise over stingrays on Queensland’s Heron Island.
That image (on pages 86–87) holds special memories. “I had never seen anything like it before or since,” Don says. “It was the 15 minutes before sunrise and I was on the beach to catch the last of the turtles laying their eggs. I could see their prints in the sand but they had all gone for the day. I saw these shadows in the knee-deep water and then I saw that they were moving. With most photography you try to plan things because you are under pressure to deliver, but this one was totally unexpected.”
The work of the long-time OUTBACK contributor has been the subject of nine books, including one on Australia’s islands, and he still hankers to produce “the ultimate Australia” book.
This story excerpt is from Issue #81
Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2012