The Never Never 00:00
It was fucking amazing. It was an adventure.

Dan King really sets things alight on his photo shoots. While working on a project in Northern Queensland, the Aussie photographer lit an alpine rainforest on fire, then snapped pictures.
The kicker? These fiery photographs were, counterintuitively, part of a project to benefit the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. We caught up with Dan before his AWC exhibition in New York to get the scoop on his adventures in the bush.

CONVICTS

Hey Dan. So tell us what you’re doing here?

DAN

We were commissioned by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy to hold a one night exhibition-featuring two sanctuaries that are run by the AWC-in New York to raise money for the charity.

CONVICTS

Who is ‘we?’

DAN

Me and Christopher Griffith. We were sent to two different sanctuaries, and showcased our interpretations of what we saw. I was sent to Mount Zero Taravale and Chris was sent to Mornington Heights which is in Western Australia.

CONVICTS

So you guys were deep in the bush. How was that?

DAN

It was fucking amazing. It was an adventure.

CONVICTS

Tell us about the location you were in.

DAN

I’d never been to Northern Queensland before. It’s a tropical rainforest, but it’s in the highlands so it’s really cold. I’ve never experienced rainforests in high mountains.

CONVICTS

Was it challenging to shoot in such a remote locale? Were the pictures themselves more complicated to take?

DAN

A big shock to me were the Australian native animals. They’re extremely hard to find. They’re all small marsupials and mammals which are nocturnal and hide for survival. Just finding them was the most difficult part.

There was one moment where I was pumping the air by myself, with fire on both sides and my camera strapped on an ATV. That was the best moment on the trip.
CONVICTS

That must’ve been wild. What did your process look like when you were in the field?

DAN

The image behind me was shot at five o’clock on a brisk morning. We all got up, rode atvs to this ridge line and set up. There was a natural mist coming through, slightly colored, which was incredible. The idea was to capture the trees’ movement and and trick it out so you can see in the picture what it feels like to be there. It’s really hard to capture the beauty of the place.

CONVICTS

Were there any highlights from the trip?

DAN

We did a controlled burn. There was a big firewall with drip torches, atvs, a few cameras and just let loose. It was very Apocalypse Now. There was one moment where I was pumping the air by myself, with fire on both sides and my camera strapped on an ATV. That was the best moment on the trip. It was so much fun it was ridiculous.

CONVICTS

How were you guys able to do a controlled burn in a sanctuary?

DAN

The land needs fire management to rejuvenate. Now that there’s no aboriginals living in the land, it’s so essential that they do this, because you can get fires that come through and burn for weeks.

Fire is such a beautiful, untamed thing. It just traps you in and looks beautiful.
CONVICTS

What were you trying to achieve with that particular burn photograph?

DAN

I wanted to show a part of this landscape. It’s so remote, It’s really mountainous, it’s almost spooky. It’s got a real energy to it.

CONVICTS

Why was did you decide that fire would be an important part of the piece?

DAN

Fire is such a beautiful, untamed thing. It just traps you in and looks beautiful. That’s the main point.

CONVICTS

How was it producing your work for a cause? Was it constraining at all?

DAN

We were given quite good freedom to do whatever. Essentially this is not about us, it’s a representation of the charity. It’s something we’re proud to be part of.