Looking back now it’s hard to imagine that two people so young could build a bond that has spanned thirty years and is still as intrepid as the day it began. A small town on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, Australia was a great place to grow-up, being surrounded by a real jungle rather than a concrete one instilled a love for the bush and wildlife in both Ken and Michelle. When the couple first met Michelle was a student and was just starting a photography elective and from this merger beginning blossomed their romance with light/ photography.
Michelle’s first glimpse of Africa was through the eyes of Sir David Attenbough, as a child she loved nothing more than to sit entranced by BBC’s wildlife documentaries. Going on safari (through the television) with Sir David instilled a longing in her heart that was undeniable, and after settling down with Ken and starting their family she set about plotting their first encounter with the Dark Continent. This encounter, would entrap their souls and eventuate into the couple living in East-Africa several years later.
Stepping onto the tarmac at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Kenya for the first time was indescribable/ beyond words and already the couple felt the familiar tingle of home. After one night in Nairobi they set out for Lake Nakuru National Park. Thousands of flamingo danced like prima ballerina on point, across the shallow waters as the sun set they painted the lake in a hue of pink. White rhinoceros lumbered across the salt flats at the edge of the lake. These visions were the catalyst for the plotting and planing of the couples next African safari, and it was only day one.
For five weeks the couple explored, from Kenya to Uganda and finally to Tanzania. In Uganda they trekked the impenetrable forest of Bwindi and basked in the calming aura of the Mountain Gorillas. Surrounded by a family of ten of these amazing creatures was a surreal experience that allowed them to escape from the world, dissolving all of mankind’s problems and restrictions. The breathtaking vista as they descended the great extinct volcanic caldera of Ngorogoro Crater was the highlight of their experience in Tanzania. Here they were charged by a ground shaking Black rhino (OK, it was a mock charge, but it still got the adrenalin pumping). But it was the golden oat grass plains and the riverine forests of Kenya’s Masai Mara that cast it’s spell and held them captive. This is the place that has divulged it’s rich beauty to them. Many of their extraordinary adventures and stunning images have come to light here.
When Ken and Michelle decided that it was time to move to Africa full-time they embarked on the task of building their dream 4WD vehicle to allow them to get to all those remote places they longed to visit, but would also give them a few small luxuries. First came the list - the things they needed!! For Michelle this included : comfortable roof-top tent, hot shower, bbq and fridge/freezer. Ken’s list was all about power : Diff-lockers, power chip, winch, suspension air-bags, etc, etc (the list goes on and on). It took a few months to complete but finally the Beast (or the ‘Batmobile’ as it’s known) was ready for the high-seas. The 4WD was shipped from Sydney, Australia to Cape Town, South Africa and three months later Ken and Michelle were there waiting on the docks to pick it up. Thus, the start of another wonderful adventure.
The couple had four months before they were due in Kenya, so they set out with no plans and decided to go wherever their hearts took them. First was the West coast of South Africa, then Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and finally Kenya. They just made it in time, their plan to ‘not plan’ was very simple; if they didn’t really like a place, they just stayed a night or two and moved on. It sounded great in theory but what happens when you get somewhere (Namibia) and you love it all?? After five weeks in Namibia the couple had to tear themselves away from a country that still fascinated them, but promised that they would return to finish exploring this amazing country (which they did the following year). The build of the 4WD was haled a success, after living for 4 months within its confines Ken and Michelle were in no hurry to abandon this way of life, from that time they have spent every conceivable moment in the remote wilderness, sleeping under the stars in their roof-top tent.
The couple’s dream is to be able to share their extraordinary experiences with all that are interested. Whether that’s in the form of visiting their exhibitions and enjoying the realism of staring into their images, or for the more adventurous, accompanying them on safari.