Photographer explores land unseen

Photographer explores land unseen

Life & Style
Aaron Green has travelled approximately 73,000 kilometres to date. Photos courtesy of Aaron Green.

Aaron Green has travelled approximately 73,000 kilometres to date. Photos courtesy of Aaron Green.

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Armed with his drone, a solid music playlist and his troopy, Aaron Green hunts down unusual landscapes to produce spectacular top down aerial photography shots.

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ALONE, hundreds of kilometres from anywhere marked on a map, Lands Unseen's, Aaron Green is in his happy place.

Armed with his drone, a solid music playlist and his troopy, Mr Green hunts down unusual landscapes to produce spectacular top down aerial photography shots.

What he captures takes on a life of its own, as the 'unseen' areas of regional and remote WA come to life in a raw emotive way.

Some images take on an eerily haunting element, almost as if the isolation, loneliness and spiritual nature of the land reach out to the viewer.

Which is why it is no surprise that in only two years Mr Green has amassed almost 19,000 Instagram followers and is contracted with The Western Australian Tourism Commission, Australia's Golden Outback.

Despite his quick success, the path to finding his way here has been long.

Growing up in Donnybrook, Mr Green never knew what he wanted to do with his life.

While his brother found the answer in creative pursuits early on, Mr Green worked in the local IGA before his dad urged him to get a trade and then a fly-in, fly-out job.

"I went from stacking shelves when I was 18, not knowing what I wanted to do, then dad got me a job up north, and ever since then, for like the past 15 years I've been a FI-FO electrician," Mr Green said.

In the early days of alternating weeks on and off, Mr Green spent his time watching television or working out in the gym, but he was restless for something more, finding that even though he loved the hands-on element of being an electrician, it lacked purpose, often leaving him feeling depressed and unmotivated.

He focused his attention on travelling and on one trip to Europe took his camera with him.

Capturing the sights and sounds of Europe, with a penchant for street art and architecture, Mr Green fell in love with photography as the city's colours and landscapes came to life for him behind the camera.

On returning home he discovered drones.

Excited and armed with his new-found toy, he took the drone on his next trip to Portugal.

Alone on the road is where Aaron Green feels most himself.

Alone on the road is where Aaron Green feels most himself.

"I saw that drones were coming out and I thought man that would be cool to see stuff from above," Mr Green said.

"So I bought one and took it out to Portugal and I fell in love straight away.

"As soon as I saw everything from up there, all the colours, it was like love, basically."

The rest you could say was history.

"Travelling has given me immense pride in my own country because I saw what the rest of the world was doing and I realised what we have here in WA," he said.

"The meaning of life for me is experience, you should experience as much as you possibly can.

"I don't want to get to 80 years old and when someone asks what did you do with your life, my response be, I worked."

So that is what Mr Green does, fitting in as much as travel through rural Western Australia as he can during his weeks off, taking breathtaking images and growing his business.

When he is out on the road exploring places that no one else goes to, he finds his purpose and feels as if he returns to his true self.

"When I'm out there and trying to pull back the veil of the beauty of the country, that's when I am myself," Mr Green said.

"Operating that drone, looking at the screen, seeing all the photos come together - the composition, it's almost like I am putting puzzles in place and I can really feel something in my self click."

With a land as vast and diverse as WA, finding the right places to visit can be tricky.

Mr Green spends many night shifts scouring over Google maps, looking at the topography of different regions, or investigating the land close to towns he wouldn't mind visiting.

By looking out for texture and colour he can orientate his trips towards areas that might look stunning from above.

Wheat fields from a different perspective.

Wheat fields from a different perspective.

"I'd love to map every single salt lake because there are so many colours," he said.

More than just taking pretty pictures, Mr Green is passionate about helping people, communities and mental health.

One cause close to his heart, where he currently donates 30 per cent of all of his print sales, is the Cancer Council.

He has lost multiple loved ones to cancer, including one of the most influential people in his life, Earl McClutchie.

He was his first boss as an apprentice but quickly became more than a boss to Mr Green.

Mr McClutchie taught him to tune into his true self and opened his eyes to spirituality.

Tragically he lost his battle to pancreatic cancer, further leaving a mark on his young employee.

So in 2022 Mr Green will be embarking in the Shitbox Rally, a 3200-odd kilometre trek over nine days to raise money for the Cancer Council.

As part of the rally and after the event he will be donating 50 per cent of sales to the cause.

"Cancer is such a monumental thing, but if the small amount of money we can raise can help in some way then that is a huge win," he said.

The fundraising arm of Lands Unseen is deeply personal and important to Mr Green, who next year is also hoping to donate funds at a grassroots level.

He plans on finding local charities in the different regions where his images are from.

Part proceeds from an image sale will go to the organisation in that area.

"Ultimately I want to show people the beauty that is out there, I want to help people, I want to help people take care of the land and also give back to communities that need it," he said.

As Mr Green travels he loves stopping into towns chatting to locals and getting to know the area he is in and hopefully in the process is able to highlight areas where traditional tourism doesn't often spotlight.

Exploring the land is not without its challenges, having broken down in some extremely isolated places.

"I was in Israelite Bay when my engine collapsed under the turbo and I got stuck out there," he said.

"I had to limp the car back to Esperance."

 Salt lakes and unusual topography are some of Mr Green's favourite places to visit. Here he has captured the beauty of Cranbrook Lakes.

Salt lakes and unusual topography are some of Mr Green's favourite places to visit. Here he has captured the beauty of Cranbrook Lakes.

By the same token, the exploration of little known places has opened Mr Green's eyes to the spirituality of the country.

In one adventure to a remote salt lake, which he has chosen to keep private, he was flying the drone over the top of the lake when he saw what looked like a perfect circle, right on the edge.

Thinking to himself how bizarre, he flew the drone over the top and discovered it was a perfect stone circle of 13 stones pushed into the lake.

Trekking around to investigate further, he had a sensation that he was not alone, as he drew closer to the circle, an intense feeling bore into the back of his neck.

"I thought to myself, I shouldn't be here," Mr Green said.

"I've always been told by the Aboriginal folks that I work with that if you ever feel that way either pick up some dirt or water and say I'm sorry for interfering.

"I am just passing through, I mean no harm and then blow on it and release it.

"As soon as I did that to the water, I smelt roses.

"It's something that I can't explain, but there are a lot of spiritual aspects like that in Australia."

Classifying himself as both a creative and spiritual person, he hopes to inspire others to live intuitively in order to discover their true self and live with purpose.

A big believer in gut instinct and following a feeling, he knows that leaning into that side of him, despite how contrary it may be to what he 'should be' doing, is the only way to live.

It's Mr Green's mission to highlight areas of the outback that often get overlooked by traditional tourism.

It's Mr Green's mission to highlight areas of the outback that often get overlooked by traditional tourism.

"Sometimes you just get a feeling that you're on the right path," Mr Green said.

"As soon as I found photography, everything I didn't have space for in my life like my relationship at the time, everything that was wrong, things I was doing for others and not for myself, started to shift.

"You should always follow it if you have that feeling, don't be afraid, because I never want to live with regrets."

Leaning into self discovery as he roams the outback, his photos reflect his changing mindset.

As you scroll through his Instagram account you can see the emotional seasons change through the images.

Some speak of loneliness and others grief or disparity, but all strikingly beautiful.

"For the past three years it's just been me by myself, getting to know myself - at times it has been a little lonely so might come through in some of the photos," he said.

"I've always wanted to portray the emotion behind the shot - that's what I aim to do.

"I want to push that emotion while showing there is so much beauty out in the country because people don't realise it.

"They think that it's just all farms and cows but if you really look, go to Wongan Hills or Ballidu, that kind of area, look across and you'll see this incredible, breathtaking, and different kind of beauty."

Being able to see beauty in areas that others may miss is one of the hallmarks of a true creative, so it's no surprise that Mr Green has also weathered the storms of mental health.

"I always found that when I was depressed; the more I'd think negative thoughts, the more bad things would come to me, that's why I like to keep a positive outlook now as much as I can, but it's hard sometimes," he said.

Adding the final modifications to his new Toyota TroopCarrier, Mr Green is almost ready to take on the Golden Outback.

Adding the final modifications to his new Toyota TroopCarrier, Mr Green is almost ready to take on the Golden Outback.

Mr Green encourages anyone who struggles with mental health to lean into what makes them happy, be surrounded by people who love you and stay away from being caught up in the societal pull of overworking.

"When you feel overwhelmed and like there is no purpose, go back to what you love, try not to bury yourself in work," he said.

That's not to say he has made it in his journey, historically battling with imposter syndrome as he paved his way in this new career, but leaning into what he loves makes it easier to trust himself and know that he is on the right path.

Already clocking up to 73,000 kilometres of travel, what could possibly be next for this 'I've been everywhere man?'

A six week trip out to the rabbit proof fence, where there are many salt lakes along the route.

The trans Australian railway and to tackle Israelite Bay again, this time with a new Toyota TroopCarrier.

Beyond that Mr Green's dreams are much like the land he likes to travel, big, diverse and filled with blue sky thinking.

He would love to take Lands Unseen to the wild ocean one day, sailing around the world with his drone, or taking the new car overseas to New Zealand or Japan and exploring the land top down.

Mr Green talks of exhibitions showing off the rural landscapes and hanging out with indigenous kids, teaching them photography, moving more into tourism, and ultimately being able to leave FI-FO life behind, and travel lands unseen full time.

But for now Mr Green just can't wait to get on the road again.

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