Twelve months. Two photographers. One caravan and a continent to explore.
Queensland College of Art alumni Sid Coombes and Callena Brenchley are embarking on an epic 12-month road trip around Australia in their vintage Sunliner caravan – hoping to capture the people and places that make up our great sunburnt land.
“Going to the QCA changed my life,” Sid said.
“Not only did I meet Callena there, but it gave me the confidence to come out of my shell and really start believing in myself.”
Callena said the emphasis on exploring a narrative through images had changed the way she worked.
“As well as teaching us all of the technical skills you need as a photographer, our lecturers at the QCA introduced us to the concept of using images to tell a story, which still shapes my work today,” she said.
“It gave all of us the confidence to grow as photographers – it was a safe learning environment where you were allowed to make mistakes and try new things.
“Our time at the QCA gave us the confidence to start our own business.”
The pair travelled overseas for six months after graduating from the Bachelor of Photography, and started their own business when they returned to Brisbane.
They decided to embark on their road trip around Australia as a way of combining their twin passions – photography and travel.
“There is so much to see in Australia – but most of us have never been further west than the Great Dividing Range,” Sid said.
“We can also still keep our business going while we travel, which important to us.”
“It’s all new territory for us,” said Callena.
“We are really excited to get out of the cities, and see the untouched areas of Australia – the gorgeous beaches, the red dirt, the mountains and forests.
“We have a Google Map that is constantly getting filled with new locations.”
The couple will start their Australian odyssey in August, and plan to stay on the road for the next 12 months. They see the trip as a chance to capture what makes Australia tick – from the natural landscapes to the people they meet along the way.
“I think photography is an amazing way to forge a connection,” said Callena.
“And people in the country are more open for a chat, whereas in the cities, everyone has got their walls up.
“We are keen to tell people’s stories through our photos and try and capture what makes up the fabric of Australian life.”
After considering a converted bus or camper van, the couple chanced upon a vintage 1956 Sunliner caravan that will become their home and office over the next year.
“We stumbled across the Sunliner on Instagram- we wanted something that would photograph well, and its a real Australian icon,” said Sid.
“The functionality isn’t always the best – there are holes everywhere and things that leak – but we love it.”
The couple say they work well as a team, and are prepared for the ups and downs of life on the road.
“We’re both pretty relaxed people, and I think we’ve got our work life balance down pat at this point – we’ve learned to switch off at the end of the day,” said Callena.
“We just feel so lucky that we can make a living doing what we love.”