Jess Lowis & Alex Spurway are the founders of OzShot, Australia’s largest independent photography publication, which was created to support underrated photographic talent and inspire creators to destroy monotony. OzShot is a publication that is based on no bias, no matter your skill level, or how well known you are, there is always a chance for your work to be published, which we just love. People in the outdoors, exploring, adventuring, simply being and capturing.
Jess & Alex are super passionate about the outdoors which is part of the reason for founding Ozshot, serving as an inspirational publication which makes you want to adventure further, explore more and create with purpose. Both are accomplished photographers and explorers in their own right, and we recently touched base with Jess & Alex to see what inspires them personally and creatively, and to hear a bit more about the outdoor photography community and their vision.
What inspires you both personally and creatively?
Jess: Authenticity, passion and the willingness to make something out of nothing. The OzShot team is quite lucky I feel in the sense that we get the opportunity to speak to and connect with countless photographers and creators on a weekly basis from around the world. Something that always stands out to me, and inspires me to develop OzShot and work harder on a personal level is the passion that those creators possess. Every successful person and ‘amazing’ concept started from nothing, it’s just those who are willing to put the authentic, passion and hard work to turn it into something.
Alex: Personally, I am inspired by having a ‘no excuses’ mentality towards things in life; the notion that you can achieve anything if you really want to, and if you fail, try again until you eventually get there. As cliche as it sounds, I have had this mentality towards a lot of things in life, including my personal photography and OzShot as a platform. This is what has pushed me to create a lot of my favourite content, motivated me to get out and shoot in crazy weather conditions, go on solo adventures and follow my passion.
There really is unlimited potential to what you can achieve, the only thing stopping you is your mindset towards things. I feel like once you stop putting up mental boundaries your creativity will skyrocket. Creatively, I am inspired by the Australian landscape that surrounds me. I definitely do take it for granted, but it is crazy how much there is to see out there that is easily accessible in under half a day of driving from my home in Brisbane, or even a short flight. It definitely keeps me motivated to keep exploring and creating, especially when there is that extra element of the unknown and an adventurous spark to venture off the beaten track.
Alex, you’ve recently returned from an epic road trip capturing some beautiful moments in NSW, VIC and SA, what was one of the most memorable experiences you captured from that trip?
The most memorable experience for me was one of the most insane sunsets I have ever seen, at Wilsons Promontory National Park on the Southernmost tip of Australia. We spent most of that day cruising around the national park, did some location scouting and settled on a spot for sunset. It was slightly overcast so we had low expectations but stuck it out and to our surprise, the entire sky lit up all different shades of red, orange, pink and purple for as long as half an hour after the sun had even set. For someone who has lived on the east coast for my entire life, watching the sunset over the ocean was a crazy experience for me, what made it even more so how the entire beach was super reflective due to the low tide, I tookprobably 200 photos of that sunset. I can honestly say at that moment I had never felt more content and stoked with life.
You’re a super accomplished outdoor adventure photographer, what advice can you provide to aspiring photographers who love exploring and are pursuing their passion also as a profession?
The biggest piece of advice I can offer to aspiring adventurers is just be yourself in what you do and the art you create. It is far too easy to get distracted by what others are doing and what the popular trends are on social media, especially Instagram. Don’t get caught up in the trends and shooting what you know will get the best engagement, that’s a pretty fast track way to having a generic looking, boring feed that won’t stand out from the crowd and will date quickly once trends come and go, as they always do. Shoot for you, shoot what you like to shoot and don’t be afraid to put your work out there. If you are aspiring to pursue photography as a profession, the biggest piece of advice I can offer is to keep grinding away until you get noticed by brands and clients. It will take months, even years of dedication and perfecting your craft, and you will get knocked back time and time again but the hustle is what differentiates you from the rest and puts you a step ahead, which is where you will get noticed.
Jess, we love that Ozshot publishes hard copy, with the trend to digital broadcast nowadays, how important do you think it is for the photography community to have that tangible outlet to inspire more creativity?
The feeling you get when you see your photograph in a print medium is extremely different to just a digital file. Let alone seeing your photograph next to other equally passionate photographers from around the world. It feels more real, and as we push more into a digital world we slowly lose touch with that real authenticity that print has always had. We do offer digital downloads of our recent magazines however, we will always print publish as well. It’s who OzShot is, we don’t care if we end up being the last physical photography publication, as we believe and support authenticity.
What’s been your ultimate camp spot so far on your travels and why?
Jess: Lake Moogerah, in the Scenic Rim. The number of times we’ve been there on ‘mini’ campouts with all of our close friends, sitting around a campfire, telling stories and waiting for the stars to hit their peak – I’d not even be able to count. So many good memories and interesting stories shared around that lake. It’s the same location we had the first OzShot x TSS camp out, which is one of my favourite OzShot events to date. 50 creators, all camping together, shooting and getting to know each other. The vibes were amazing, keen for the next one that’s for sure!
Alex: Wild camping in Kosciusko National Park definitely tops my list of camping spots (literally, the highest camping spot in Australia). After doing the summit hike and taking in the break taking views at sunset, we pitched camp just below the summit (this is allowed, check the rules as there are restrictions to where you can and can’t camp.) Unfortunately, fires are not allowed so we fired up the gas stove and cooked up a meal at the highest point in Aus, definitely a night for there books!Waking up to stunning sunrise light hitting endless layers of mountains was a view I’ll never forget.
So what’s next for OzShot?
Jess: This year we will be publishing magazines on a quarterly basis, starting with our most recent Issue .09. We’ve been working really hard behind the scenes on creating a strong identity for our publication, and Issue .09 is our benchmark for all future issues. Diversity is a MASSIVE part of everything that OzShot does, ranging from community opportunities, events and the publication. This issue I feel we’ve got the perfect mix of diversity, with articles ranging from a wedding photographer, Olympic athlete, professional travel photographer, musician and various other articles.
If you only ever read one of our magazines, read Issue .09 you will not be disappointed. For more info check it out here.
Alex: As the community manager of OzShot, I am very excited for this year, we have a lot of events planned including a couple of big ones such as a campout and more interstate meets. We are also introducing a brand new line of photography workshops which you should keep an eye out for. We are always aiming to expand what opportunities we can bring to our community, whether that be diversifying the types of meets, doing more with our online community and having a strong presence in the photography scene. We are forever looking to expand, and I have a feeling this year is going to be a big one for us.
Ozshot is an inspirational magazine for the outdoor photographer community, by the community, showcasing exciting destinations to awaken your sense of adventure and creativity. Issue 9 is now available for pre order via their website.