Amid the Instagram’s long list of selfies and social snaps, some serious photography is happening on the Gold Coast.
A growing community of amateur and semi-professional photographers has been capturing new perspectives of the city — from peaceful drone shots of Tallebudgerra, to a grommit stacking it in Miami.
“Everyone is really open to sharing ideas and advice, it’s not really competitive, there’s not really much ego,” semi-professional photographer Hannah Jessup said.
But beyond what Ms Jessup said has been a supportive community, there are hopes this type of photography can build the public’s desire to conserve the Gold Coast’s natural beauty.
‘Just enjoy it’
Hannah Jessup’s “dreamy, sun soaked kind of style” of photography has seen her build a following of more the 2,000 Instagram users over the past two years.
But she said “I don’t really have a goal, I just enjoy it”.
Ms Jessup said she built her kit and skills slowly over time, by attending meet-ups organised through accounts like @igersgoldcoast.
“It can be a very lonely kind of hobby, it’s very solo,” she said.
Ms Jessup says the photographic community “gives people a perspective they haven’t seen” of the Gold Coast, with most doing it as a hobby.
Something special going on
Odell Harris runs a podcast about ocean photography called ‘Chasing Clarity’, featuring interviews with professional photographers from around the world.
But Mr Harris says the Gold Coast “scene is pretty welcoming”.
“It seems to be the ocean imagery community especially, is quite unique,” he said.
According to Mr Harris, a big reason for this unique character has been the Gold Coast’s natural beauty.
“Just look at it, there’s nothing really ugly down there,” he said.
But with “so many people shooting and so much noise”, Mr Harris said getting traction on Instagram for amateur photographers can be difficult.
“If you’re doing photography just for you, than it shouldn’t really matter how many likes you get, how many followers.”
The environment in focus
Mr Harris said interest in his podcast has roughly doubled in the past 12 months, while the number and quality of the Gold Coast’s photographers has grown as well.
But he said there were some downsides.
But Mr Harris said he hoped the photographic scene could help encourage better conservation of nature.
“If I can expose more people to that environment, they can have a happy experience in the ocean, then hopefully they want to do more of it.”
“They will look after the environment.”
‘Fantastic depth of talent’
Andy Sichter started the account PureGoldCoast on Instagram about four years ago, which among other accounts, has become a common hashtag for the photographic community.
“I discovered there was a fantastic depth of talent out there,” he said.
“We started out by approaching a whole bunch of Gold Coast photographers ourselves just to get the word out… from there it kind of steamrolled,” he said.
Mr Sitcher said the response had been “absolutely amazing”.
“That local Gold Coast photography community is probably way more massive than what most people realise,” he said.
While many are bikini shots and selfies, there are almost 8 million photos tagged with #GoldCoast on Instagram.
Mr Sichter said this “puts the Gold Coast on display to the world”.