Chris Oaten’s photographic career leverages 30 years of journalism experience, creating a compelling archive of stories and moments.
Travel writing and photography wasn’t the first avenue I pursued as a photographer. In fact, a close second. I started out shooting construction, which funnily enough is where I ended up!
But back in the film days, you needed a big cash reserve to get going in the commercial world. I didn’t and, consequently, found myself close to broke in short order, so I turned to travel writing as a prop to sell photographs.
This led to the revelation it was way easier to earn money behind a keyboard than behind a camera. Thus, my journey from the dark slide began and by 1992 I was regularly being published across the News Limited group as well as in national magazines.
While my career in journalism led me, eventually, to being tied to wordsmithing, I always kept my hand in as a photographer and frequently shot pictures to accompany my stories.
Indian Pacific 1995
A few stories I compiled as a freelance travel writer/photographer stand as career milestones. This is one of them. A story on the Australian transcontinental rail service, the Indian Pacific, published by GEO magazine in 1995 to mark the 25th anniversary of the train’s first outing.
The story cemented a title I coveted – GEO magazine’s South Australian correspondent. I wrote a number of stories for GEO magazine ahead of it folding due to commercial pressure from Dick Smith’s Australian Geographic magazine.
For a while, though, I was the go-to freelancer for what was long the leading geographical magazine in Australia. It also added a measure of credibility that would later be invaluable as I grew my career in journalism.
Travel feature writing remains a strong interest, though my commercial photography work in recent years has usurped almost all my time so the opportunity to produce this kind of work is rare.
That said, when the right offer comes along you make time, right? Of course, you do. This story for Digital Photography magazine combined my love of travel writing with my expertise in photography and product reviewing. A week in Penang, Malaysia, in 2013 provided the grist for this story along with a daily urge to sit down to a Peranakan meal.
It was an extraordinarily productive week, even in the oppressive tropical heat, and not only did I produce more than enough imagery to fill out the pages of this story but many more that continue to feature in my folio.
I continue to “keep my hand in” by writing the occasional camera review for Tech Guide.
Positioning his subjects as the hero of his visuals, be it a person or a building, Chris creates a visual archive for his clients that is engaging and meaningful.
Please contact Chris for further information about his services and to request a quote