From the lofty heights of a sea plane one is privy to a different view—where natures colours bleed out in rich and varied hues, like roots of a tree.
The image above and those below are part of a dynamic exhibit by Tony Hewitt and Denis Glennon AO, entitled: Girt by Sea, launched today by Canon Australia.
The unique showcase comprises a stunning collection of 100 large-format aerial images of our coastline captured and reproduced in rich detail and displayed on a scale as bold as the voyage to capture them. Australian Foreign Minister Hon Julie Bishop MP will officially open the exhibition tomorrow at Paddington Town Hall, with the doors opening free of charge to the public from Saturday 16 June until Wednesday 27 June, 10am–6pm daily.
“Girt by Sea the latest in a series of major collaborations for Canon locally and we’re extremely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together with some of the most creative minds in Australia,” says Canon Australia’s Director of Consumer Imaging, Jason McLean. “It’s great that Tony and Denis approached Canon with Tony’s vision because the scope and purpose of this audacious project was immediately appealing. We’re proud of our products, but ultimately we’re known for what people like Tony and Denis do with them – and I think we all agree that they’ve done something very special indeed.”
Tony Hewitt comments on the collaboration: “As Helen Keller famously said, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’. It had always been my dream to create a project on the scale of what we’re unveiling today and I am sincerely grateful to Canon Australia for their confidence in us and their support and sponsorship of the adventure.”
Fuelled by the spirit of curiosity, the gregarious duo of explorers took to the skies on an adventure to fulfil a childhood dream.
The Dream: Since his school days singing Advance Australia Fair in assembly, Tony Hewitt was fascinated by the curious expression ‘girt by sea’. Years later as an acclaimed photographer, ‘girt by sea’ became the metaphor for an epic Australian adventure: to circumnavigate Australia’s coastline by air in one 31-day trip, capture it in stunning detail and bring new meaning to those three words. Tony shared his dream with close friend and accomplished photographer Denis Glennon AO, and the pair decided to make the dream a reality.
“I knew that only a privileged few had explored Australia’s breathtaking coastline to any significant degree from the air. So, I got to wondering what an adventure it would be to experience all of it in one go; to capture and reveal its magical, ever-changing beauty,” says Tony Hewitt. “Girt by Sea started as an ambitious dream and now it’s a lived experience. More than that, the collection means that we can now hold the understanding of those three words in our hands.”
The journey of discovery: Commencing and finishing at Jandakot Airport, Western Australia, the voyage took an anticlockwise flight path allowing both photographers to shoot simultaneously through front and rear portside windows of the Cessna 210 light aircraft, which generally tracked just off the coast.
“This was never a documentary trip; it was a voyage of discovery akin to the explorers of old,” says Denis Glennon. “There’s lots of planning and preparation with a trip of this scale but ultimately it’s instinct and curiosity that led to us taking the images in our collection. We had an expectation of what we might see courtesy of Google Earth, but what we actually saw when we got there blew us out of our seats every time.”
The challenges: Following extensive research of historical weather patterns, especially for the more remote southern and northern regions, April was selected as the optimal time of the year to complete and aerial circumnavigation of the coastline in one go. The decision proved a good one and the pre-planned schedule was adhered to, despite challenging weather on several days.
“We had to complete the trip in 31 days so planning had to account for the journey and photography time and we had to provide the pilots with the way points ahead of each leg. We could delay take-off or get out early but we had to stick to time,” says Tony Hewitt. “Planning can get you so far but we had to constantly account for variables such as tides, weather conditions and just the unexpected marvels that we would find when we were faced with a location for the first time.”
The Collection: “The collection expresses what Girt by Sea means to us – it’s the emotional response to what we saw a point in time captured in beautiful, large-format images,” says Denis Glennon. “It’s the result of our daily decision to focus on what we actually find, not on what we expect to find – that’s the spirit of exploration!”
“I hope people share the same emotional response of ‘Wow – look at that!’ that we did when we encountered these places,” says Tony Hewitt. “It doesn’t really matter where it is. What is so striking is the texture, colour, and shape of our coastline. We have in our minds a hard line dividing land from sea, but it’s actually a much more fluid transition.
Images are available for purchase framed and unframed online and at the venue.
Experience ‘Girt by Sea’…
Location: Paddington Town Hall, 249 Oxford Street Paddington, NSW 2021
Exhibition dates: Saturday 16 June – Wednesday 27 June 10am-6pm
Entry: Free of Charge