It’s not easy having bipolar, but at least it has given me a blessing as well as it’s curse.  The mood swings that come with bipolar disorder have struck me with depressive and manic phases; it still hurts when I think of it’s impact on my family.  And yet, this cursed bipolar has helped me achieve what I have been able to do as a photographer. 

It was in those manic times, when sleep evaded me for days on end, that kept me out in the field, day and night, stalking the birds I loved to shoot or capturing that perfect second when light and landscape rendered their magic. I would often linger late watching the stars and enjoying the solitude.  It was during these times I felt free to be myself.  I enjoyed the connection to nature and my creator and this was my salvation. Looking back, I realised nature mattered early in my life.  In my childhood my family moved about much of the southern parts of my vast homeland state of West Australia.  All that moving about gave me a wonderful exposure to such a range of varied and unique landscapes and it certainly gave me and early love of the bush.  Even as a child I found it calming and soothing.

I always enjoyed taking photos but in the days of film it wasn’t always economical when a roll was devolved and revealed the various movements of a particular bird it wasn’t until the purchase of my first digital camera I could fully explore and record all that my eye could see.  The yellow spoonbill being the bird that first captured my interest back in 2006.  My wife after seeing my images suggested I join a local camera club as I knew nothing about the inner workings of a camera.  Through the club I won many awards and I eventually entered ANZANG and in 2009 won people’s choice.  I never wanted to be a photographer I simply wanted to capture the art in nature. 

In 2013, I won the Australian Geographic ANZANG Nature Photographer of the year.  These days I’ve become known as much for my environmentalism as for my photography in that I’m fighting to save my beloved Mandurah Wetlands in my hope to preserve its beauty for generations. I published my first book Art in Nature. My ability to photograph became limited as the toll on my body from years of physical damage that became arthritis meant wading through swamps or hanging of cliffs became more and more difficult and eventually I had to stop shooting my beloved birds and focus on capturing the beauty of the landscape. 

Then in 2015 I suffered a cardiac arrest at home and only by the grace of God I survived and was bought back from death.  I then suffered a second arrest at the hospital and my time of death was almost recorded when it was decided to give me one more zap with the paddles.  The effects of this have meant my heart is badly damaged and surgery was not an option because a portion of the muscle has died so I live on a daily dose of medication and a defibrillator imbedded in my chest in case I should suffer another arrest.  Having been without oxygen also means my brain has suffered some damage, mainly affecting my short term memory.  To add insult to injury I was then knocked of a scooter when holidaying with my family in 2017 in which I severely injured my right  shoulder and knee, so holding a camera became impossible and I had to resort to using a tripod and finally conceding that my life as a photographer had come to an end.  I’ve  since had a hip and knee replacement and more surgery will be needed on the other hip and knee. In late 2017 I sold everything photographic related and closed down the web site and sales outlets and for me I was done, its all, or nothing.

Although I thought this door had finally closed, my images are still sort after, my problem has been trusting someone to print them as I did. After a long search and months of trialing and developing I have found a printing group who I do trust. 

Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Dave 

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