By Gretel Sneath
The world through Ockert Le Roux’s eyes is breathtaking.
His striking images are shedding a new light on the Limestone Coast, inspiring locals to explore their own backyard and encouraging tourists to the region.
Photography was once a form of escape from Ockert’s hectic world of corporate forestry, but a permanent tree-change from Melbourne to Mount Gambier has put life into focus, and his creativity is flowing in the crisp country air.
The father-of-three says the area reminds him of his childhood home in South Africa in terms of the agriculture, the people and its proximity to the ocean – however the local landscape is in a world of its own.
“The geology is such a feature here – you’ve got volcanoes, lakes, sinkholes, caves, and the aquatic systems are just phenomenal – Kilsby Sinkhole, Ewens Ponds and Piccaninnie Ponds – even in tropical waters and oceans, I have never seen water of such a crystal nature; it’s like an underwater garden,” Ockert says.
And it is equally breathtaking from above, with the bird’s-eye views Ockert captures from a drone showcasing iconic local attractions from a new perspective.
“When it’s a well-known feature, the brain will immediately discard it, but as soon as you change the light or angle or just put a spin on a particular object, it can grab people’s attention, and that’s what I look for when I wander out into the region with my camera,” he explains.
Ockert’s work has a strong social media following, with former Limestone Coast locals now living interstate or overseas among his biggest fans.
“It takes a different eye to capture a different perspective, and people really seem to appreciate it,” he says. “This community likes to share, so when there is a particular image they like, they will share it and that’s what makes it so powerful.”
Ockert’s reach is now spanning beyond even cyberspace, with his haunting image of the wreck of the Pisces Star near Carpenter Rocks recently published in a book launched at the Leica Studios in London’s Mayfair.
“There were 100 photos selected for an exhibition with 50 making it into the book and it was so good to see a small seaside town like Carpenter Rocks in a London environment,” he says. “I don’t do it for my ego and it’s not about me; it’s about elevating the region for the people that live here.”
You can see more Ockert Le Roux photographs here
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