The US has 62 protected areas known as National Parks. It is my intention to photograph adventurous, nature loving humans in every single one of them. This is a mission about love, the environment and chasing a dream.
I'm Josh, a destination wedding and portrait photographer from Australia, a place I love and miss deeply. We Australian's are passionate world travelers, although I never thought I'd leave my country for good. However in 2011, I felt compelled to do just that, for a few reasons. First and foremost... LOVE - I came here to marry the love of my life who just happens to be an American (shout out to all the '90-day-fiances' out there!). Secondly... PASSION - I came here to chase my dream of being a professional photographer. And lastly... ENVIRONMENT - I came here to immerse myself in some of the most beautiful, unique, delicate, dramatic and awe inspiring landscapes in the world. Roll all these reasons into one, and the move was a total no brainer - AND this project just feels like something I need to do to validate my decision, and make the most of my time here!
Having lived here for almost a decade and now a citizen, I've seen a lot of this remarkable country. It's a place I've really come to love and and appreciate for it's diversity of people and cultures, natural beauty and boundless creative and entrepreneurial opportunities... despite it's complicated history and uncertain outlook. To me, it's a land of contradictions - Wild and rugged yet fragile and delicate, bold and exciting yet sometimes a little confusing, controversial or even scary. For better or worse, it's certainly an interesting time to be a conscious observer of the rapid changes this country (and the world) currently faces. One thing I feel that cannot be denied is slow degradation of natural environments around the world that are crucial to sustainability of the planet as we know it. Here in lies one of the motivations behind this project (more about that in a moment).
About my photography
I knew pretty early on in my career that I wanted to focus on photographing real human experiences. And weddings just seemed to encapsulate everything I was looking for; from raw emotional moments to perfectly composed portraits that serve as important family heirlooms. But as many photography enthusiasts will attest, it's those dreamlike mountain scapes and fiery coastal sunsets that really spark an interest in the craft of photography in the beginning. So I set out the merge those genres using landscapes to set the scene for in depth documentary wedding coverage. Eventually, I became so obsessed with the blend of wedding portraits and epic scenery that it became a staple in my overall portfolio. From then on, I could seldom look at an amazing landscape without imagining where in the frame I'd place two people who are focussed entirely on one another yet immersed in the stunning terrain.
Several years on, and I've enjoyed visting and photographing in some of the world's most breathe taking locations. Each one more beautiful than the last. It's a passionate pursuit that has become almost as addictive as capturing a poignant moment on a wedding day (those still take the cake). BUT I do continually feel conflicted about the environmental impact that my travel causes. As we know, flying and driving are two of the most destructive ways we contribute to carbon emissions. On the other hand... my work is the sole income for my growing family. And I don't see how I would support them, or instill within my children a sense of adventure and love for the environment if I were to instead shoot in a studio, and be stuck behind a computer everyday.
About the project
Let's back up for a moment... "The National Park Service, or NPS, is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. The U.S. Congress made Yellowstone America’s first national park in 1872. In the years that followed, environmentalists including John Muir lobbied for wilderness preservation throughout the American West with the creation of several more national parks and monuments. President Woodrow Wilson established the National Park Service in 1916 to consolidate management of America’s federal parklands under one agency. The National Park Service today manages 84 million acres across all U.S. states and territories, and has served as a model for countries around the world. --- While America’s national parks drew upon earlier examples of European woodland preservation, they were a uniquely American idea rooted in democracy, philosophy and art.'' Resource: https://www.history.com/topics/us-government/national-park-service
Now, this project is not purely about spreading environmental awareness, nor is it a plea for more people to go trouncing through all the national parks and preservation areas (God knows they all get plenty of visitors every year as it is). This project is about creating a deeper connection with natural world through the shared experience of creating art that celebrates your love and story against the backdrop of a place that you feel passionately about. My hope is that the bi-product of these little adventures will not only be some amazing photographs, but a renewed or heightened appreciation for our environment, which, like your most cherished memories, is worthy of preservation.
About the locations
One thing I'm always appreciative of throughout these experiences, is the opportunity to better educate myself (and others) about the specific environmental uniquities, history and challenges pertaining to the locations I find myself in. And each time, I leave with a greater appreciation for the land and it's inhabitants, both current and ancestral. The stories, folklore and native traditions of each area are as vast and inspirational as the parks themselves... and nothing enhances the experience of these adventurous photoshoots like brushing up on our history together. In a way, the conversations we have on these expeditions are as memorable as the photographs we create. So I'm extremely excited to see what we'll learn at each park.
And rest assured, we'll tread lightly, stick to the trails, leave things how we found them and encourage others to do the same!
I'm eager to get out there and shoot in every single park (so far, I've photographed in seven amazing National Parks). So I clearly have a long way to go yet, but this means there are plenty of opportunities to reach out and collaborate for your wedding, elopement, engagement or portrait session.
I acknowledge this mission could take a while, as I continue to juggle weddings, business and family life. But with all things considered, I'm committed to this idea so long those I photograph are excited and willing to invest and trust in the creative process. I think it's important to charge an honest and fair rate for the art we'll create together. I admit, my rates may be on the higher side of average compared to many other photographers. BUT along with my devotion to telling an honest and compelling story of your relationship in these beautiful places, I also pledge to donate 10% of your total fee to an environmental cause of your choosing (I'll provide you with a list of organizations upon booking).
It doesn't have to be a wedding, elopement, or engagement to be meaningful enough to warrant a photo shoot. It can simply be a chance to tell the story of your relationship, shared interests and pay homage to the place you love. Maybe you're anniversary is coming up and you weren't stoked with your wedding photos... Maybe you never plan to marry, but you believe your love is worth celebrating never the less. Maybe you've been married for 10 years and your children mean the world to you - so what better way to create lasting memories with them too. OR maybe you are getting married or eloping in or near a National Park, in which case I'd be honored to tag along! Whatever your circumstance, if there's a person you love, and a park you love... I want to help you create some art and memories that will help preserve that feeling as well as the environment!
So please, contact me HERE to inquire about sessions, rates, and my current travel calendar.