Australian for Life – Interview with Nikon Ambassador Delly Carr

‘Australian for Life’ is this summer’s assignment in which we invite everyone who owns a camera to get out and capture the essence of ‘Australian for Life’.

For the assignment there are no constraints – just be creative and try to get photos that define your interpretation of ‘Australian for Life.’ Some of these moments are found in portraits or landscapes and others in the scenes or activities that define us as Australians.

Delly Carr, a full-time sports photographer and Nikon Ambassador, took some time out to share his thoughts around what being ‘Australian for Life’ means to him.

Photo by Delly Carr

Who are some of the subjects or scenes that have you most enjoyed photographing over the years?
I shoot a lot of sport – different sports and different sporting stages. But the ones I enjoy the most are shoots by the beach. You have the strong, crisp sunlight of summer, the blue sky mixed in with the white puff of clouds, the jade-green water and the crash and splash of the waves, plus the famous white sand. Then add the athleticism of the athlete to all of those natural elements and you get an image that will always gets the retina of the eyes dancing.

Photo by Delly Carr

If you had to select one of your photos that would best define your ‘Australian for Life Moment’ what would it be and why?
The night of Cathy Freeman’s 400m run for Gold at the Sydney Olympic Games. The stadium was filled with 100,000 Australians ready to roar and cheer on Cathy. Millions in the country tuned in on the TV as well. They played Men At Work’s ‘Down Under’ song on the stadium loudspeaker. The atmosphere was set and Cathy Freeman ran it beautifully to gold despite the weight of expectation from the whole country. I still get a shiver down my spine when I think about it.

Photo by Delly Carr

I understand that you have done some work in the past for Surf Life Saving Australia, what did this work involve?
Yes, I did. Most of the work was done at a time when the sport was booming on the TV and media. The iconic summer sport of Surf Ironman was happening – so popular that at one stage two cereal companies ran two different Surf Series. For three or four years I was the official photographer for one of the Series. I used to get a big kick out of seeing my images on the cereal boxes at breakfast. And even only a year or two ago, I was assisting SLS with shooting staged images for Lifesaver Training Manuals, Sponsorship launches, etc.

Growing up did you spend much time at the beach? If yes, what is your favourite beach?
I grew up in the eastern suburbs of Sydney so I was very close to all the beaches. Maroubra was my favourite, we would hang out there after school, playing touch footy or cricket on the sand, finishing the day with a can of Coke and a bag of hot fish & chips. Then on Saturday and Sunday, my schoolmates and I would jump on the bus and make it a day at world famous Bondi. The girls were always better looking at Bondi!

Photo by Delly Carr

From all of your travels across Australia, what Australian icon have you most enjoyed shooting?
This is embarrassing … I am going to so sound like a dag. I love all the ‘Big’ things in Australia … the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple, the Big Prawn, the Big Oyster, the Big Guitar, etc. So kitsch, so Australian, and always a big reminder of getting into the Holden with the family and taking the long drive to your ultimate destination of your summer beach holiday. And then of course, there is Sydney Harbour. The most picturesque urban body of water on the planet.

Photo by Delly Carr

What has been one of the most challenging photography jobs that you have ever undertaken?
The Sydney Olympic Games. Having the biggest sporting stage come to your own home town made it extra special, and that inexplicably added a lot of pressure on photographers like myself to make sure that it was covered properly. You didn’t want to miss any special moment in Australian sporting history, but you also had the added task of making sure your folder of images portrayed an Australian look and feel.

Is there a photographer who you most admire or who inspires you?
He wasn’t a sports photographer, but Max Dupain was the one whom I admired most and aspired to. I can still remember the feeling when I first saw his famous and iconic ‘Sunbather’ picture. As well as having all the photographic elements coming together, he so beautifully displayed an image which couldn’t have been taken anywhere else on the planet but on an Australian beach. ‘Australian Life’ was his subject matter and he did it so graphically and beautifully.

Enter: Australian for Life