A REASON FOR BEING
Steve Parish, who received an Order of Australia Medal in 2008 for his contribution to the
Australian Publishing Industry, shares his commercial and private journey over forty years
as a naturalist, author, photographer and publisher in a lively, illustrated presentation. His
publishing career began on a one colour printing press in the suburbs of Melbourne in
1966. It was through this simple process he published his first colour images of the deep
water marine life of southern Australia in magazines and then, in 1971, in his first book
‘Australia’s Ocean of Life’. After leaving the Navy in 1974, he spent five years with the
Queensland Parks Service as wildlife photographer and nature interpreter in their
promotions department. In 1981, he set out on a freelance career roaming Australia
producing a series of coffee table books for Rigby Publishers. In 1975, after Rigby closed
their doors, he went on to create his own, now iconic photographic publishing business,
Steve Parish Publishing, publishing primarily his own work and also the work of many of
Australia’s best nature photographers. At its height the Company grossed $15m PA and
employed 125 people. The Company has sold an estimated 30 million products in its 30
year history through as many as 3,500 accounts at any one time.
This is the first time Steve will have comprehensively shared his insights into the
publishing industry and its many facets from concept to store. He and his team has
uniquely penetrated several major market niches from Greetings and Gifts, General
Books, Natural History and Children’s Publishing; he also flirted very successfully in the
relaxation music industry which boomed in the mid 90’s.
Today the traditional publishing process world wide is rapidly changing. Steve has been
caught up in this change and in this talk he will share his insights into the future of what is
now a fast evolving digital platform. He is a colourful speaker and he guarantees to
inspire, enlighten and entertain.
Breakout session one
THE ‘FACES’ OF CREATIVITY – A JOURNEY INSPIRED BY NATURE
“As we are creative beings, our lives must also become our most important work of art”
We all begin our creative endeavours by seeking inspiration. This, and all other processes
on the journey to fulfilment can be simple and fast tracked, maybe in moments, or
complex and drawn out and, sometimes, creative ideas take decades to evolve. Not
necessarily because we are slow to learn rather, as Steve believes, it may be a case quite
unexplainably that the time is simply not right. Or, as others might put it, the ‘planets are
not aligned’ just yet. For Steve they are now aligning in 2012 for the first time and he will
share why during this talk.
This presentation focuses on the potential of some forty separate and sometimes
intertwined processes that may positively or negatively influence creative outcomes.
Steve calls them the ‘faces’ of creative process, and it is these identifiable ‘faces’ that this
presentation looks to examine. The talk is divided into four principal areas: inspiration,
quest, struggle, production and connection. Throughout the journey Steve delves into the
subcategories, ‘the faces’, through discussions on permission, tension, change,
frustration, anticipation, passion and play just to name a few.
And the end objective? Fulfilment, or as the Dali Lama puts it, “we all seek happiness as
the ultimate fulfilment.” For professional photographers it can be little more than personal
and client satisfaction. A truly creative outcome is what we all seek and, more importantly,
the potential for a truly creative life centred in the heart and not the head. It is in the head
in thought that we can develop anxiety, stress, frustration anger and disbelieve in ones
own creative self. Or as Steve calls it, ‘the 4am dark space’, others call it ‘the black dog’.
Steve has sought to focus on this area as an intrinsic part of his work as a tool to not only
enhance his own life, but also to market the idea that the natural world is intrinsic to human
health and well being of humans in a million different ways.
This fascinating presentation is more of a sharing experience than a talk and it will be of
interest to everyone, photographers and non photographers, commercial and non
commercial. Oh, and yes, if you drive the school bus for a living Steve’s sure there will be
something to take away for you too.
Breakout session two
Photographing Australian wildlife can be a very addictive pastime — one that can provide
a dedicated photographer with a life-long interest and, with the right approach, a constant
income. There are countless species, each with its own story to tell, meaning the
challenge is endless. Because there are so many species, there are just as many things to
learn about how to approach and photograph each one. But what would life be like without
an interesting challenge?
Naturalist photographer Steve Parish has specialised in the photography of Australian
animals for forty years. His skills have enabled him to develop a wide ranging portfolio
across all animal groups and in this fascinating talk Steve reveals the techniques that
apply across all mammal, reptile, amphibian, bird and invertebrate groups. Steve also
works underwater with fish mammals and invertebrates and will also briefly cover this
This talk also covers using nature images in the digital age.