Sera J Wright is a travel photographer, storyteller and wanderer from Byron Bay, Australia. Her unique style has seen her sought out for work with tourism boards within Australia and abroad, sharing the way she sees the world through her eyes and lens. With a passion for nature, travel, conservation and adventure, she offers a fresh perspective and authentic voice advocating for the environment in her sphere of influence and beyond.
Sera you’re known particularly for your inspirational photos capturing the Northern Rivers, Byron Bay, your home town. Byron is a hub for creatives, surfers and freedom thinkers, what inspires you most about the region?
I guess being born in Byron I’ve been lucky enough to have grown up surrounded by some of the worlds most beautiful and natural environments. I was brought up camping from since i was a few weeks old, our family would camp any chance we got up and down the East Coast of NSW and Queensland, even if it was camping down at Clarkes Beach in Byron (even though we lived just up the road). I believe having holidays camping and out in nature, instead of at resorts, cities or cooped up in a hotel room, taught me to respect nature and ingrained that inspiration from nature at an early age. The ocean, the bush, the magic light at sunrise and sunset, Byron and it’s surrounds are the perfect place to draw inspiration from. I walk on a daily basis and am always out in nature, so it’s easy to be inspired by this area, anyone who visits will understand.
You’re a strong advocate of treading lightly on your adventures and camp outs, which we love, often including environmental messages. What advice do you have for other wanderers and photographers to tread lightly when next on the trails of adventure?
I believe as photographers and people with influence, we have a responsibility to promote the right thing to do, especially when it comes to the natural environment. We have people who look up to us for inspiration on places to visit and locations to photograph, camp and stay.
I see time and time again people posting photos taken from, or of themselves, in prohibited or restricted areas which are environmentally fragile – such as the Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park and Curtis Falls in Queensland just as two examples. Both of these locations have prohibited and restricted access areas to protect the fragile ecosystems for the Glow Worms and Platypus populations as well as for the rare Australian marsupial frog. People think – oh it’s ok, i’m just taking a photo, i’m just one person, but they don’t realise the detrimental impact that even just one wrong step and action can have on an environment or ecosystem, let alone the hundreds of other people doing the same wrong thing. Stepping on that rock or that creek bank just to get that photo or angle ‘for the gram’ or for a better view is never ok. We are losing species at a rapid rate, 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours, and this is mostly due to human impact. We as individuals need to take responsibility for our own actions, we need to be aware of the impact that every action of our own makes. No photo is worth risking the health of a fragile ecosystem and environment.
I think it’s also important when free camping or ‘vanlifeing’ that we treat the area we are staying with respect. If an area says no camping – then don’t camp there. People don’t want their local beachfronts or parks smelling like toilets and rubbish dumps – it happens in Byron every day and it’s really quite disgusting and disheartening, with toilet paper and rubbish left everywhere. Don’t try and avoid the rangers who are just doing their job. Don’t try and sneak out of National Parks Camp Sites early to avoid paying the camp fees – the reason these National Parks are available for us all in the first place is because good honest people pay the fees to keep the parks open and maintained. It’s important if you’re going to utilise a National Park to pay the due fees, so that these parks are kept open for future generations to enjoy. Always take your rubbish with you wherever you go, leave no trace behind.
Top camp spot so far in your travels in Australia?
We spent alot of time when I was younger camping along the whole coast of Yuraygir National Park. It stretches from Yamba to Coffs Harbour and has some of the most beautiful and untouched coastline in New South Wales. From beautiful beaches, creeks flowing out into the ocean, wildlife galore (you see kangaroos everywhere and Emus if you’re lucky enough). These days I go camping in Yuraygir National Park at least once a month, it’s close enough to home to even just go down for one night, which makes me feel like I’ve been away for a week.
What does the next 12 months have in store for Sera J Wright?
I’m currently planning ‘The Big Lap’ around Australia! It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. Just jump in the 4WD and camp my way around this beautiful country we live in. There is so much to see and do in Australia, it’s right here on our doorstep and i can’t wait to photograph and document the whole trip and share it with the rest of the world. I want to encourage people to get out there and see and explore, while being environmentally conscious and making sure we treat the environment with respect so that it is there for future generations to enjoy. The plan at the moment is to leave around August/September and be on the road anywhere from 8 months to 2 years.
I have a fair bit of travel planned between now and then with a few tourism campaigns to work on, within Australia and abroad. From the Whitsundays, Fraser Island, Gold Coast, Noosa and the Sunshine Coast, New Zealand and a few others. So keep your eyes peeled!
Sera hopes her photos inspire others to get outside, travel the world and look after this beautiful planet of ours. You can view some of her work on her website and keep posted on her upcoming adventures via her Instagram.