Earth Hero: Andy Vukosav

Andy Vukosav has enjoyed a 35 year career as a professional fashion and advertising photographer. He’s visited various corners of the world to shoot for local and international brands, working with some of the world’s best advertising visionaries and collaborating with like minded visual and performing artists. With a creative mind, a purposeful vision, and a hopeful outlook for our world, Vukosav is one of our admired Earth Heroes.

Meet Andy

Q: What was the motivation to focus not only on commercial fashion photography but on Australian landscapes as well?

A: My current art foray “Longitude Latitude Solitude” began as a personal project with the aim of piloting a single engined Cessna across Australia to photograph some of mother nature's strange and beautiful formations from the air.

After my first trip from Melbourne to Darwin, I already knew I created something special that I needed to share with people. I could finally showcase the majestic beauty of a vast country, start a conversation about the treasure of Earth’s landscapes, and ensure this treasure we have now can endure for future generations.  

Q: You refer to your Cessna 182 as your third greatest love—what makes flying and photography from this unique perspective so special? Has it changed the way you see or appreciate the Earth?

A: Flying my little Cessna? This is my happy place. My little bubble from which I observe the world. 

It takes just enough concentration to aviate, navigate, communicate, and take photographs—to drown out any of my day-to-day stresses. I come away from a long flight feeling physically exhausted but mentally and creatively enlightened. It has certainly changed my perception and appreciation of the Earth. 

Q: You have so many wonderful pieces, including oceans, lakes, rivers, deserts, and the lush series—what landscape is your favorite to capture?

A: I love all landscapes, but what I’ve looked for in this series are pristine virtually untouched regions of Australia of which there are many. I generally look for snippets of order in the apparent chaotic randomness of the natural world—like a line of some kind that is shaped by the wind, water, or the passage of animals. 

What I like to capture the most are the vast, unusual formations born from the relationship between salt lakes and the desert environment. I have separated the images into chapters to showcase the incredible spectrum of color that exists in the natural world. I have found that some naturally occurring colors are difficult or almost impossible to render because of their intensity and the limited gamut of digital cameras and the printing process.

Q: Beyond photography, what do you do to relax and recharge?

A: I cycle, I fly, I go for drives in the country. I enjoy sailing my Hobie in Somers–Victoria, or looking through new images I've taken on a previous trip. To relax and recharge, I have TV dinners and a glass of red with my wife and life partner, Josie, and spend time with my beautiful staffie “Helen”. 

Q: What is one small step (action) that individuals can take that can lead to Earth's journey to recovery?

A: Someone I met at an exhibition in Paris mentioned something called “The Overview Effect”. A term coined by Author Frank White who wrote a book on the subject—it is a cognitive shift reported by some astronauts while viewing the Earth from space. It can cause appreciation, unexpected and even overwhelming emotion, and an increased sense of connection to other people and the Earth as a whole. It can be transformative.

Once I heard about it, it explained similar feelings of "overwhelming emotion”, inexplicable laughter or sadness I’d encountered while traversing the skies across the remotest parts of Australia. Looking at the world from space you no longer see the need for conflict, politics, or borders. As we are all actually space travelers on a little blue ball called earth quietly hurtling through the universe. 

The world however is becoming an increasingly challenging place to live. Pandemics, political unrest, war, climate emergencies, and more. I think we all need to take a deep breath, be sensible and take steps to face these challenges in a head on considered manner.

Education is key to our recovery as a society. Let's give our youth the confidence that not all is lost. We can all work as a team to live a more sustainable life. Small steps is all it will take. Turn off that light when you don't need it any more. Walk or cycle instead of drive if it's not too far, recycle or reuse when you can. Consider more sustainable packaging, place sanctions to discourage products that are detrimental to our environment, and gradually implement sensible alternatives. 

If everybody begins to take small steps, then big changes will happen. The great thing is I believe this conversation has already begun. That's a really positive step to start our world on its journey to recovery.

I believe the work I am doing can start conversations on how we can take small steps to live more sustainably, so that the Earth can continue to sustain us. I simply want us to consider and respect our Earth. After all, it is our celestial home and at present our only home.

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