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.
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
Photos: All photography by Tony Hewitt and Denis Glennon
The photographs are available from Canon’s online store.