Stan and Kaisa Breeden are at the forefront of digital closeup nature photography. Between them they have over 68 years of experience in nature photography, art, design, writing and film-making.
Stan is one of Australia’s pioneering nature photographers and writers, and has published some 20 natural history books, and published in the world’s leading natural history magazines. He is an Emmy-award winning documentary film-maker and writer, having worked in both Australia and India. After giving up film photography, he embraced the digital realm with gusto.
(the one with the beard)
I’m not used to writing about myself as though I were someone else, so forgive me for writing this in the first person.
I began nature photography in 1955 when it was mostly in black and white and Kodachrome was rated at 12.5 ISO (or ASA as it was then). I continued photography on film of plants, animals and landscapes until 2000. Over the years I managed to take some nice pictures and thought a few were quite good. Magazines such as National Geographic, The Smithsonian, Natural History, Geo and others also liked them and were kind enough to put them on their pages. National Geographic even sent me on assignments in Australia and India. The Indian assignment was a beauty—photographing endangered wildlife all over the country. I loved Indian wildlife and wild places so much that I stayed for eleven years. With Belinda Wright, I did some more National Geographic assignments including a TV special on Wild Tigers called Land of the Tiger. What a thrill that was. Belinda and I made other films on monkeys, rhinos, butterflies, bats, wetlands. People liked the films too and showered us with awards, including two Emmy awards—one for cinematography and one for writing.
But after eleven years in India I couldn’t stay away from Australia any longer. Once again National Geographic to the rescue. They sent us to fabulous Kakadu in northern Australia. A dream assignment to produce another TV special called Australia’s Twilight of the Dreamtime” and a story for the magazine. But what I took away from Kakadu that I valued most was a deep respect for the Aborigines and their views and understanding of the natural world. It was a revelation.
Australia was not for Belinda. She returned to India where she’s moving heaven and earth to save tigers in the wild.
Over the 45 years up to 2000 I managed to write and illustrate some 20 books for both children and adults.
We have pictures of Australian and Indian plants, animals and landscapes. Living as we do in Australia’s tropical rainforest, our most extensive coverage is of this area. Should you wish to view or use photographs from my picture library they are available from our agents.
I am a third generation artist and graphic designer—I grew up in a family of eccentric bohemians; artists, writers, sculptors, marionette puppeteers and textile designers. I have eucalyptus in my veins—we lived surrounded by national park; sandstone, waratahs, banksia men and mountain devils deep in the Blue Mountains. The special tingle you get in the soles of your feet shinnying up a smooth–skinned angophra tree I can still feel just by thinking about it (though I’m unlikely to be in a fit enough state to carry out the deed nowadays).
I was a third generation East Sydney Technical College student in my family also, but the first not to graduate (I ran away). To make up for it, I completed a Diploma of Multimedia in 2001.
The mastery of digital photography, colour management and fine art printing technologies has totally captivated me; the resolution and colour possible are simply astounding. I love colour management. The work and dedication to quality by Joseph Holmes and Bill Atkinson are an inspiration. I also explore photomontage as a medium for telling the story of a species or a special place. I managed to drag Stan kicking and screaming into the digital age around eight years ago.
Kaisa and Stan have combined their skills and artistic visions into a singular style. They specialise in macro nature photography using only natural light, and use Kaisa’s pioneering techniques involving HDR (high dynamic range photography) combined with focus stacking (called HDRI-DOF), and macro panoramas. They work mostly in tropical rainforest, where they live.
Kaisa and Stan produce large (2 X 1 metre) fine art prints of the highest quality possible in this country. It is an intense and absorbing process.
In 2006 they jointly won the ANZANG Nature and Landscape Photographers of the Year Award. ANZANG stands for Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea, and it is the largest nature photography award in Australasia.
In 2007 they were the winners of ANZANG Nature’s Botanical Award, and runners-up in the Black and White award.
In 2008 they spent four months in the southwest of Western Australia photographing wildflowers for the book, “Wildflower Country—discovering biodiversity in Australia’s south west”.
In August of 2010, Wildflower Country was published by Fremantle Press, to great acclaim. The first of its kind, this book combines extensive focus stacking macro photography out in the field in natural light.
In September 2010, Stan & Kaisa (unanimously and annonymously) won the inaugural Eric Rolls Prize for Nature Writing, for their first joint writing effort. Their winning essay, entitled Larry comes to Bulurru, describes their observations and loves of their special part of the world, the terrible tearing apart of that world with the advent of Cyclone Larry, and the gradual regeneration of their forests since.