Dan Proud hails from the Darling Downs, a stunning rural region in its own right, not that you’ll even pin him down there for too long. He chases reflected sunrays from dawn to dusk; for work, and for reasons known only to restless, impassioned photographic types.
It’s a cycle of travel that will never end. I mean how could you unturn every stone in every farthest corner of the country. And yet Proud persists, as it’s in these distant geographical margins where his life’s work truly comes to the fore.
He pushes both man and machines to the limits, and is so inured to this life, that the more difficult the terrain, the more his creative strengths leap to the surface. From the Kimberley to the Cape, he produces images that make you just stop whatever it is you’re doing, and just gawp at them. They’re perfect, but not in the ways of frosted ad agency fantasies, his are the real deal of grit, luck and hard work.
At all times you know there’s someone behind the camera drawing these special moments out of the Aussie dirt. It’s a signature of effortless beauty even though the reality from his end of the lens is often difficult and rough. You only have to look at each pic to realise that Dan is tripping over desert stones full of scorpions and snakes, pulling focus deep in a Top End quagmire with dengue mosquitos swirling around his neck, or hanging his body out of a Pilbara helicopter.
- by Jimmy O'Keefe | 4WD Touring Australia -