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.

Hannah Jessup says her photographic style is “dreamy, sun soaked”.(Supplied: Hannah Jessup)

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.

five female surfers stand on the beach holding their boards
Surf Witches at Sunset is one of the images inspired by the group of female surfers Jessup formed in 2019.(Supplied: Hannah Jessup)

“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.

A surfer underwater
Photographer Odell Harris snapped this surfer at Miami moments after he was hit by a surfboard.(Supplied: Odell Harris)

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.

A man in the ocean looks at the camera.
Odell Harris, pictured, runs a photography podcast called Chasing Clarity.(Supplied: Odell Harris via @chris_sinclair_imagery)

“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.

An aerial shot of a crowded beach.
Drone shots like this from Instagram user @_harrrryy_ show a new perspective of the Gold Coast.(Supplied: @_harrrryy_ via Instagram)

But he said there were some downsides.

But Mr Harris said he hoped the photographic scene could help encourage better conservation of nature.

A green turtle swims above rocks with sunshine streaming through the ocean.
Ocean photographer Odell Harris hopes Instagram can promote more conservation.(Supplied: Odell Harris)

“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.

Skyscrapers along a beach with people on a beach.
Gold Coast photographer @_harrrryy_ has amassed more than 13,000 followers.(Supplied: @_harrrryy_ (Instagram))

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.

An airborne surfer above the waves.
This photo from Instagram user @samfoxphoto featured on the account PureGoldCoast.(Supplied: @samfoxphoto via Instagram)

Mr Sichter said this “puts the Gold Coast on display to the world”.

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