The complete contrast to my travel work, photojournalism opened my eyes to a phenomenally challenging world.
From the first day I picked up a camera I was convinced I’d be off trekking around the world as part of the new breed of National Geographic photographers but in reality, those jobs are one in a million. Instead, I began to dip my toes into other types of photography and like many others, I tried almost everything – weddings, events, portraits and sport were just the beginning.
Fortuitously, I got the chance to begin working for the U.S. Embassy in Canberra and my days of family portraits were but a distant memory. Over the years I had the chance to photograph President Obama twice, Hillary Clinton, Secretary John Kerry, all 5 of Australia’s Prime Ministers during that time, The Wiggles, Buzz Aldrin, the head of NASA, my football heroes and many many others.
I read once that covering a U.S. Presidential visit was one of the most challenging gigs going around and I was lucky enough to do it twice. And both times as the official photographer. Now I’m no Pete Souza but I was allowed to roam into places other members of the press didn’t get to go so I managed to get images I treasure to this day. I didn’t take the opportunities for granted and ended up spending 6 years building skills and friendships I hadn’t anticipated at all.
In different ways, it built photographic skills I would never have had a chance to hone had I just stuck with tourism and travel work and it opened my eyes up to visual storytelling in a way I was honestly naive to before that. It eye-openingning, challenging but so rewarding.