Category Archives: Assignment Notes

Notes taken while on assignment


It isn’t for everybody – travelling up to eight months a year – but it’s a lifestyle I’ve chosen and one I continue to enjoy. I’m drawn by the variety of experiences, the people I meet and the associated challenges ( and pleasures) of arriving in a new destination. On top of that, I have a purpose – to produce winning photographs – which, again, suits me as I like a challenge and I’ve sat under enough palm trees to realise that paradise without purpose just ain’t paradise.

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I’ve just entered a joint venture with an international image library to sell my photography worldwide.

I’ve been with Getty Images for the past five years but, while I’ve enjoyed the royalty cheques, the process involved in uploading my images to their library is just too time consuming. There is also the strict model release conditions which, in many of the countries I photograph, is simply unrealistic (using an ‘X’ for a signature can only go so far).

So Designpics – a Canadian company which acquired Axiom, First Light, Pacific Stock and a couple of specialist libraries – wants to build its profile on the South Pacific and got in touch. One of their editors subsequently flew over and we have just spent a week going through my entire library to select pictures for uploading. One of the conditions I had was that they include in their selection the best images from my film library (which hasn’t seen the light of day since the dawn of digital) and that they have the images scanned for uploading. As it turned out, they left with about 1,000 premium photos, 50% of which came from my film library, the balance in digital.

It’s been an interesting exercise learning what the market wants and understanding how such libraries work (and it was traumatic literally throwing away 90% of a film library I’ve spent 10 years amassing). But a more efficient system to distribute and add value to my work is emerging, with the plan now to package the images up and circulate them to a plethora of image libraries worldwide. I did weigh up the option of building a dedicated library of the South Pacific under but the reality is, I would never have had the time or the reach – particularly in the northern hemisphere – to do it justice.

I guess six months from now I’ll know if it was the right call.

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Click the picture (above) to see a short preview of some of the images to return from the Timor-Leste shoot.

Considering the amount of travelling we had to do, and the fact we didn’t have talent (though thank you to the nurses and expat volunteers we did manage to grab at short notice), it was a reasonably productive assignment.

Combining these images with those from the last shoot (sample below), the country’s Department of Tourism now has a solid foundation of images with which to promote the young country’s tourism prospects.

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I’m back at the hotel room and winding up a 10 day shoot of Timor-Leste.

It’s been productive assignment but I’m buggered as we literally drove the length and breadth of the country in search of photographs – largely on unsealed roads. The last three days have been spent around Timor-Leste’s most easterly point, Jaco Island.

While I’ll post a preview of the top 30 pics when I get back to the studio next week, here’s a couple of cute shots of “Goggles” (the fisherman) who joined us at the island.

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SHOOTING “TOURISM” PICS IN TIMOR-LESTE…..and a few black and whites.

I’m just back from the remote Marobo Province in the mountains of Timor-Leste and thought I’d quickly drop in this pic (above) to re-enforce the tip I posted earlier (Photography Tip 52)  about the importance of shooting  ”tourism”, as well as travel. The pictures were obviously staged, requiring a day of organising once we got there (site […]

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