KCM: What makes this area home to you and what do you love about it?
I was born and bred in Kyogle. My father, Greg, and my uncles established Daleys Nursery almost 40 years ago. I liken the area to a kind of bio-cultural Eco-tone — a bridge between different world views. Kyogle is a kind of bridge between the super rural world further west and the alternative subculture towards the coast. The line is blurry between farmers, conservationists, alternative folk and creatives, and there are people in Kyogle who embody all of this and more. There is a down-to-earth feel out here that I find refreshing, it’s less pretentious and more grounded.
KCM: What got you into photography and filming and why do you choose to specialise in capturing the natural world?
I’ve been into photography since I was 16 years old. It started out as a curious way to connect with nature, and with the guidance of a creative mentor, I was able to exhibit some of my work in regional galleries. A major highlight was having my conservation photography curated in an outdoor exhibition in London for the Sumatran Orangutan Society, who have funded the planting of 1.6 million rainforest trees.
With my camera as a tool for creative expression I began to explore the world of film and how videography can plant seeds of awareness and earth connection.
KCM: You have managed to combine all of your passions in to your work. Tell us a bit about ‘a lush forest MEDIA’.
a lush forest MEDIA is an emerging platform for my creative offerings; digital story-telling, videography and photography. I create micro-films that communicate the essence of a place, service, project or event and I produce everything from music clips to educational videos and festival promos.
My other focus is annual Transformational Travel & Forest Expeditions to Borneo and Sumatra — and soon will be my first local ‘Rainforest Ride’ through the Border Ranges National Park. If all goes well this will become an annual affair.
The vision is to create regenerative eco-tourism with a focus on tree planting, skill exchange, ecosystem restoration, ongoing cross-cultural relationship building and connection to place. Kyogle is known as the Gateway to the Rainforest — the potential for regenerative eco-tourism in this region is beyond exciting There are so many opportunities for this here; mountain biking, bio-cultural tours, forest expeditions. The late Malcolm Wallis was an absolute visionary in this regard. If I was a traveller passing through looking for an authentic adventure — I’d jump at the chance to being guided into our World Heritage listed National Parks, managed by the local Githabul rangers and home to the largest expanse of sub-tropical rainforest in Australia. Explore this majestic place on a mountain bike? Yes please!
KCM: Can you tell us your favourite spot to be in nature, locally and around the world?
My favourite spot around Kyogle is without a doubt Brindle Creek up in the heart of the Border Ranges National Park. Ancient Antartic Beech, giant Red Cedars, epic bird life and pure mountain spring water bubbling up through the forest — just another day in paradise!
My favourite place globally would have to be the Leuser Ecosystem in North Sumatra — it’s one of the last major rainforest swathes left in South-East Asia, and the last place on Earth where orangutan, tiger, elephant and rhino co-exist in the wild. On my 2018 expedition we were lucky enough to see a herd of wild elephants and a rafflesia flower in full bloom (the worlds largest flower).
Check out www.alushforest.com for updates on expeditions and to see more of Paul’s work.