On set | On Country. Shooting the WWA international campaign. Travel Diary from Kelly Atkinson, our Creative Director.
The WeWearAustralian International campaign shoot was single-handedly the most fulfilling yet challenging project I have ever been a part of. Richard and I took a humble idea, to help champion Australian brands to our country and the rest of the world. We made a campaign, a site, and most significantly, a movement out of it.
For us, living in Australia is a luxury, from the vast expanses of ocean, clear blue skies and earth that seems to have been set ablaze. The coastlines of the Kimberley region are a place of extremes. Turquoise seas and bleached-white sand are set against orange cliffs. Months of drought are broken by thunderstorms which drench the soil and bring the earth back to life. It's hard to escape its magic.
BROOME / Day 1 - Location 1
As we step off the plane the heat hits you from the tarmac. We are in the west, and it's only 8 am. Time waits for no one - off we go as cavalry to the Airbnb ready for call time 1 pm. Broome set our senses alight; Cable Beach the first shot. The vibrant colour from sand to sky, orange sun on skin, the sway of big bodied camels approaching us, heads craned towards the sun. Jimmy’s cheeky smile met our eyes before his voice welcomed us to Country. Each day left our bodies drained but spirits full. We washed the heat away at king tide on Cable Beach, capturing the magic of the sunset & nailed the first shot while the sand dunes reflected on the surface of the water. We had to strain our eyes to see where the ocean ended and the sky began. Wrap time 8 pm.
GANTHEAUME POINT / Day 2 - Location 2
We reluctantly opened our eyes as the cars pulled up to Gantheaume Point before the sun lit up the land. It felt like waking into a dream or landing on Mars. 5:15 am and we were already sweating. The earth is marked with dinosaur footprints from deep time passed. We sought after the shot of our lifetime. Our five models perched upon the rocks as if they were dropped from the sky. James kept
pressing down on the shutter button, but we all knew we had it. It’s still etched in my mind, marked like the dinosaur prints. Wrap time 8:30 am.
“Each day left our bodies drained but spirits full"
"The heat beat down on us all... but we all wore a smile..."
CRAB CREEK / Day 2 - Location 3
We vibrated down the sandy dirt road to Crab Creek, where fresh water meets the ocean. The 45-minute drive sat in our bodies. It’s only 12:45 pm. We slid out of our seats and steadied ourselves, feet firmly planted on the soft, warm earth. This was sacred land. Jimmy told us of the site close by where creativity was born - we felt both humbled and privileged to be there. We were racing the tide. Four eyes on croc watch. Wave-lined sand was soon covered with the glassy film of light blue water. Everything doubled; the trees, sand and sky. Jimmy taught us the hand sign for strength in the local language. He must have known we needed it. We were halfway through the shoot. Will wore Willie Creek Pearls around his neck, borne from the sand on which we stood, found in the sea which rose beneath our feet. Behind the lens, we each held our breath. The heat beat down on us all, but gazing around, we all wore a smile in the magic of each element coming together. Flocks of birds passed overhead. Breathe out. Wrap time 2pm.
REDDELL BEACH / Day 2 - Location 4
After shimmying down a cliff, we entered Reddell Beach. Everything looked painted red, sun-burnt cliffs like an abstract expressionist work of art, splattered shades of ochre. One more shot - before the sun escaped us. We all watched our steps as tiny crabs took over the beach at dusk. The water tempted us, but we knew we had to keep on going. Wrap time 7:30 pm.
“The sea breeze must have taken pity on us and really started to blow, drying our sweat. 56 garments on roller racks, and our 19 crew jumped into the five 4-wheel drives as we counted down the sunset. On our drive was a tiny car half-swallowed by the earth. The 19 bodies jumped out and started to push. The sunset paints our bare skin with its orange glow."
KUNNUNURA / Day 3 - Location 5
We headed straight to Waringarri Aboriginal Arts centre for a welcome to country and the most amazing tour of the centre. Education is key and these amazing textiles created here with Kathy leading the ladies is an inspiring place to be. Energy boosted. Location scouting in the dark. James, Ken and I tell Kathy we’re thankful to have her local knowledge. Chasing the sunset on location scouting we follow the trail through the mini bungles until our phones show us the path. Back at dawn still sweating. Home time 8:30 pm.
LAKE ARGYLE/ Day 4 - Location 6
We were told by everyone that Lake Argyle is pure heaven. We drove our boat out, breaking the water, without another boat or body in sight. And it does feel like we’re on another plane. Beneath the surface of the lake live 300,000 baby freshwater crocodiles. Even that couldn’t stop us from diving in. We dried off under the setting sun, trying to savour every minute. Its disappearance behind the mountain ahead marked the end of the day, and the trip, for us all. We got it the money shot and the magic will stay with us all. Wrap time 7:30 am.
Thank You to Country
WeWearAustralian acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal people; elders past, present and emerging. Especially acknowledging the people of Miriwoong and Yawuru country in which we filmed.
Photography: Campaign Images: James Giles @ejamesgiles / Second Camera: Claire Hart @hartclaire_ / Cinematographer: Justin Griffiths @justin_griffiths / Composer: Justin Elwin @hwls__ / Assistant Photographer: Shan Stewart @shanstewart_ / Nina Fitzgerald @neeenaar
Production: Claire Davies, @scotterprojects/Amanda Ashurst @amandaashurst / Creative director: @ken____leung / Stylist: @__kelly__atkinson__ / HMU: Francesca Poggi @francescapoggimakeup / Model Casting: Jaz Daly @modulesmanagement
Talent: Naomi Stevens @naomi__stevens / India Anderson @india.ap / William Kalimba @0shuko / Angus Minear @angusminear / Cindy Rostron @rostroncindy07
In Partnership with Tourism WA, @wewear_australian, @westernaustralia
BY SALLY PATON