Jason Edwards is an Australian photographer who has travelled the world on assignment for over 25 years. He has won many prestigious awards and has been published in the most influential magazines, including National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Sports Illustrated and Conde Nast Traveller.
Following a degree in Animal Science, Jason worked for 12 years at the Zoological Board of Victoria, where he learned the ways of many animals and specialised in big cats, gorillas and orangutans. But his passion for photography drove him to a broader experience. From his first international assignment to Namibia, Jason's reputation for getting the image has grown. He has worked in dozens of countries and on every continent, often in dangerous and challenging conditions. Along with the photos, Jason kept detailed travel logs of his journeys.
His collection has over a million images and is one of the largest in the National Geographic archive. Jason spent the last three years trawling his journals and photos to compile his first photographic book, Icebergs to Iguanas. It’s a 400-page hardback of some of his favourite images and the stories behind them.
The book delves into eight stories from around the world that are as diverse as a shipbreaking yard in India, life and death on the African savannah and the beauty of Iranian architecture. A feature on a learning program around breaking brumbies in central Australia combines a great yarn with stunning images of horses and people.
Throughout the book and on his website, Edwards offers clues on improving skills for many emerging photographers. “Photography has the potential to disseminate knowledge; to give joy, hope and at times sadness, but overall, when utilised with the correct intent it can make the world a better place too," he says. “Like many photographers, I love those saturated late afternoon colours and tones. However, I live by the mantra 'make pictures, not excuses’, so I will shoot regardless of the weather conditions or lighting.”
But he also has some cautionary considerations when he suggests, “The first element to consider before you even release the shutter is whether you should be taking the photograph at all. I’ve found that photographers, professional and amateur, rarely pause to consider the ethics of what they’re doing. Creative juices are running through our veins, our photographer’s eye is well and truly in control and the potential for ‘that’ frame is before us, and damn we’ve earned it!
“But what of our subjects? Are they comfortable with what we’re doing or are they showing signs of stress? Do you have the necessary skills to evaluate, or do you even care? In natural history photography, knowledge of one’s subject is as important as your ability to capture it. When photographing people, it boils down to empathy – you must be considerate of their feelings.”
Icebergs to Iguanas is a wide-ranging and beautifully presented journal with stunning photography on nearly every one of its 410 pages. It is available on Jason Edwards's website.