In 2016, Adam Stan was two years into his new-found passion for photography, when he came across a vast artwork etched into the sand at Barwon Heads. When he viewed photos taken of the swirling sand art from his drone camera, he was blown away.
“I posted the photo on an Ocean Grove community page and asked if anybody knew about it,” Adam says.
The artist, Ed, from @Breathablueocean, made contact with Adam. It was the first time Ed had seen his elaborate sand art from the air.
This was the beginning of a collaboration between the two, so that Adam’s images of Ed’s art have now been seen by tens of millions of people around the world. The pair have used the attention to raise awareness of a range of issues, from the impact of plastic in the ocean, to prevention of drowning.
Adam says one beach artwork in particular means a lot to him.
“The thank you to the emergency services during this year’s bushfires was our little bit to show our appreciation. Feeling helpless, it was the least we could do,” Adam says.
Although you can read more about Ed in a recent story for Humans in Geelong, Ed prefers to keep a low profile and has been dubbed ‘The Banksy of Barwon Heads’. This has meant that sometimes people have suspected that Adam is actually Ed, the artist.
“I just say, if you knew how well I can draw, you’d never believe that,” Adam laughs, “My pictures are stick figures.”
Adam’s interest in photography began when he picked up his wife’s camera six years ago and “couldn’t put it down”.
He has developed his skills by spending hours each week researching photography on the internet.
Adam contrasts his passion for learning about photography, with the way he felt as a school student.
“I hated school and dropped out in year eight,” Adam says. “I wish I had discovered photography earlier.”
But the lack of formal training does have advantages.
“I’ve got my own way of doing things and can get good results because I’m not doing it the same as everyone else,” Adam says.
Adam loves everything to do with the water, and enjoys combining photography with another passion, boating.
It allows him to get close enough to whales and dolphins to capture some great shots.
For those starting out in photography Adam has this advice: “Find what interests you and go for it.”
Check out Adam’s work on Facebook and Instagram @adamstanphotography
It will also feature in @breatheablueocean’s video submission for the @humansingeelongonlineExo2020
Story: Emma Homes. Photos: @AdamStanPhotography.