Entertainment Arts Two photographers take flight for new view of Australian coastline
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Two photographers take flight for new view of Australian coastline

A view of the eastern coast of Tasmania near Bicheno. Photo: Tony Hewitt and Denis Glennon
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As a kid growing up and singing the national anthem, Tony Hewitt was always fascinated by the line “our home is girt by sea”.

“They lived with me for a long time, those words,” he tells The New Daily.

But it would take another four decades before Hewitt was able to satisfy that curiosity and explore the yearning and sense of romance he felt for the unique character of Australia’s immense and varied coastline.

Hewitt came up with the idea of circumnavigating Australia and shooting the coastline from a plane. He discussed the idea with friend and fellow photographer Denis Glennon, who was immediately swept up by both the romance of it, and the adventure that a trip of such scale would inevitably involve.

“But to be honest, we still thought it was all a bit ‘pie in the sky’,” Glennon admits.

Not only was it a logistical behemoth, but flying around the Australian coastline in a light plane for a month would also require a great deal of money. Enter Canon Australia, which not only agreed to fund the shoot, but also the resulting book, exhibition and the exhibition’s touring costs.

Hewitt explains that shooting from the more expensive vehicle of a small plane – as opposed to using the increasingly popular drone – afforded the pair a more natural and complete experience of the landscape, and a far broader perspective than viewing it via monitors from the ground.

girt by sea aerial photography project
Tony Hewitt spent 31 days in the air photographing the Australian coastline. Photo: Denis Glennon

The pair shot more than 40,000 images, in 31 days across 34,200 kilometres around Australia.

The result is not a literal geographical or topographical study of the coastline, but a piece of visual art, some of which can be difficult to discern as slices of landscape.

“This is not 10,000 to 20,000 literal images, but really a piece of fine art, an artistic interpretation of a very much alive coastline,” Glennon says.

The book, Girt by Sea, will be available from the Canon online store in late July. The exhibition will tour capital cities throughout the year, with dates yet to be confirmed.

View some of the images below

Girt by Sea aerial photography project
Evaporating salt ponds between the dry red dirt and cool blue waters of Dirk Hartog island in Shark Bay, WA.
Girt by Sea aerial photography exhibtion
Incredible pastel colours blend in the remote waters off La Grange in north-west WA.
 Girt by Sea aerial photography exhibition
Enticing summer colours and a pristine beach are revealed by low tides off the western coast of the Northern Territory.
Girt by Sea aerial photography exhibition
Currents of different colours come together as a whirlpool off the coast of Melville Island, near Darwin.
Girt by Sea aerial photography exhibition
Receding tides leave behind familiar shapes in the mud, near the most southern point of the Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland.
Girt by Sea aerial photography exhibition
Red mud is exposed by the tides in King Sound, near Derby, captured soon after take-off in the Kimberley, WA, during the early morning light.
Girt by Sea aerial photography exhibition
Point Longnose at the entrance to Coffin Bay on the southeast corner of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
Girt by Sea aerial photography exhibition
Estuary Beach and the entrance to the Glenelg River on the southern Victorian coast.
Girt by Sea aerial photography exhibition
An arcing sandbar glistens in the cool blue of the waters off the northwest corner of Tasmania.
Girt by Sea aerial photography exhibition
Sandbars, currents and tides continuously contribute to the ever changing Australian Coast.
Girt by Sea aerial photography exhibition
Rainbow colours are revealed as the waters sweep around Laggers Point just south of Coffs Harbour, NSW.
Girt by Sea aerial photography exhibition
The brown waters of a swollen river create mesmerising patterns on the northern NSW coast.
Girt by Sea aerial photography exhibition
Shining like a jewel in the rich blue waters off Cape York peninsula, a small reef is temporarily revealed.

Photos: All photography by Tony Hewitt and Denis Glennon

The photographs are available from Canon’s online store.

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