When one of the region’s best nature photographers joins forces with the people whose passion is to care for the capital’s trees, it all adds up to the perfect picture.
More than 20 images of Canberra trees, and the residents who live within them, by photographer Graham Gall, have gone on show at Queanbeyan’s Rusten House Arts Centre in Our Forest in Focus – the Wildlife that calls them home.
Produced by the Canberra Tree Network, the exhibition showcases many of our most stunning trees. It is a collaboration between the ACT Government, Government House, the Canberra Institute of Technology, Yarralumla Nursery, Australian Botanic Gardens, Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council, the National Arboretum Canberra, the Australian National University and the ACT Parks and Conservation Service.
“Back in 2021, I was commissioned by the ACT Tree Network to shoot a series of pictures for their exhibition on trees,” Graham said.
“Back then, there was a loose confederation of groups of like-minded people … anyone who was involved in the planting and maintenance of trees, from street trees to national parks.
“They approached me because some of the members had seen my work and liked it. I had a background in horticulture so I guess it was helpful I could talk their language too.”
The exhibition travelled for about a year, showcased at the homes of many of the groups involved, like the National Arboretum.”
Graham, who is 74, said he started shooting for this latest iteration of exhibitions about life in our trees last October and continued until early this year.
“I’ve been shooting all my life,” he said, “but professionally only in the last five years or so,” he said. “But sometimes I feel I was born with a camera in my hand. I started off with one of those Box Brownies and like all baby boomers, did all the black and white developing in the bathroom.
“But my passion has always been flora and fauna – how they interact.”
These days, Graham has more than 20,000 followers on his Instagram page and is regularly invited to exhibit his images across the country.
“It’s been like a second career for me,” he said. “I was in the Public Service for most of my working life and I also worked as a ranger in a rainforest near Kiama at Minamurra Falls, and I’ve also had gardens in the Open Gardens Scheme.
“Somehow it all crystallised and came together in my photos.
“People say they like my eye, how I see things – that’s really inspiring to hear.”
After the Rusten House show, the exhibition will go on tour to other ACT Tree Network locations. More information is available on Graham’s Instagram page.
Our Forest in Focus – the wildlife that calls them home is now on at Rusten House Art Centre, 87 Collett Street, Queanbeyan. Open Wednesday to Saturdays, 10 am to 4 pm, until 22 July. Free.