A B O U T M I C H A E L S E E B E C K
Michael is Cairns’ own internationally recognised award winning photographer. We are very proud to have such extraordinary talent based in Tropical North Queensland. Michael is highly regarded as one of the world’s top all round photographers, excelling in landscape, nature, aerial as well as underwater photography. His diversity is yet to be matched by any other photographer!
Michael was born in Rockhampton, Queensland. He is the only son of an agricultural scientist and has 2 siblings. His ancestry has been traced back to a man called William Holden, who was on the ‘Second Fleet’ of convicts to reach the newly formed Australian colony in Botany Bay, making Michael a sixth generation Australian. The ‘Seebeck’ side of the family migrated to Australia from Germany in the 1890’s. His family lineage is also dominated by two Scottish dynasties, the McLeods and McEachrans.
He spent the first few years of his life on a cattle property to the North West of Rockhampton. His days as a toddler and child were spent wandering around the garden and surrounding paddocks barefoot, often fearlessly amongst Brahman Bulls and venomous snakes. His love for the freedom of the outdoors and wildlife almost certainly began here. At age 5 , his family embarked on a year-long journey around the world including 6 months in the French town of Clermont-Ferrand where he attended a French school. He travelled with his family to many parts of France, as well as the UK, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, Tahiti and Fiji. He took his first photo at the age of 11, with his mother’s camera. He took a great interest in anything to do with wildlife and nature. A calendar with beautiful nature photos could keep him fascinated for hours.
After returning to Australia, he attended various schools in Rockhampton, Brisbane and Sydney. He achieved the top Tertiary Entrance score in Queensland and went to the University of Queensland to study medicine. In the final few years of school he became passionate about bush walking and did many overnight walks with the local bush walking club. He continued this when in University and spent much of his time off walking around Lamington National Park, Mt Barney, Hinchinbrook Island and Fraser Island (a week’s solo walk). Longer trips to remote parts of Tasmania were also on the menu, where he did several solo walks of 7-10 days duration. He was given his first camera, a Nikon FE2, whilst at University in Brisbane. He took thousands of Kodachrome and Velvia transparencies and slowly began to appreciate the subtleties of composition and exposure when working with this unforgiving medium.
Michael worked in Cairns, Far North Queensland for several years. Despite a hectic work schedule and long hours he managed to do many walks, including a few solo ascents of Mt Bartle Frere, Queensland’s tallest mountain, and Thornton Peak. He moved to Fremantle for a few years and found city life didn’t really suit him. He ended up working in the Pilbara, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and then Halls Creek in the Kimberleys where he made the most of any opportunity to go out, explore and take photos.
Always on the lookout for new adventures, he briefly followed his girlfriend to London where he soon discovered once again that city life was not for him. He left London behind and took on a job in Africa, Port Harcourt, where he worked for 6 months as a doctor. Africa provided amazing photo opportunities and after this adventure he went to work in Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, and Shekou in China. After returning to Christmas Island again for 4 years, he finally returned to Cairns and has decided that this is his home.
Completely self taught, Michaels passion for nature was easily translated to photography. His cameras gave him purpose and reason to go outdoors and his passion for everything wild provided the motivational canvas to capture and convey this natural beauty. Michael has a keen sense of adventure and extraordinary determination and perseverance, carrying heavy loads of photography gear (often at the expense of food and water!) on expeditions to mountain tops and the most remote places in the world. Having also completed many hours of pilot training, Michael has extensive knowledge of different weather patterns and is always adjusting photographic opportunities to the conditions. He has an extraordinary vision and natural talent in terms of finding new landscape scenes, perfect composition and lighting. Photography has truly become a way of life for him.
In the last few years Michael has focussed mostly on landscape photography, using a Linhof Technorama 617 (film) and Pentax 645D. He also uses a selection of Nikon and Canon cameras for wildlife and underwater photography.
Michael is rapidly gaining in prominence as a respected photographer whilst retaining a low key profile. His prints are collected by buyers around the world. He has won many awards for his photography, most recently in the Epson International Pano Awards 2013.
His beautiful gallery in Cairns opened its doors in June 2012. With 20+ years of photographic experience behind him, the response to Michael’s work has been overwhelming.
His cameras always by his side, Michael has travelled to many parts of the world. This includes travels to:
The Solomon Islands (twice)
UK – mainly Scotland (several times)
France – several times
New Zealand (several times)
Michael has travelled extensively throughout Australia with his favourite photography destinations being the most remote ones!
Notable treks include:
many 2-3 day walks around Lamington National Park and Mt Barney
a week walk in Blackdown Tableland
a week’s solo walk around Fraser Island
South West Cape Track in Tasmaia (solo)
South Coast Track in Tasmania (solo)
Western Arthurs Traverse in Tasmania (twice)
Frenchmans Cap walk (4 days)
Walls of Jerusalem ( three times – twice solo)
Walls of Jerusalem to Lake St Clair (10 days – solo)
Mt Bowen traverse on Hinchinbrook Island (1 week)
Hinchinbrook Island coastal walk (three times)
Freycinet circuit walk ( twice)
multiple 2-3 day walks in North Queensland including Mt Bartle Frere, Thornton Peak, Kalpahlim Rock
Denali Walk (around Mt McKinley, Alaska – 1 week)
various 2-3 day coastal walks in Alaska (solo)
Annapurna Circuit in Nepal (3 weeks)
Langtang Valley walk in Nepal (2 weeks – return via remote pass)
The Inca Trail in Peru (solo – back when you still could do it solo!)
Michael is an avid diver with over 1000 logged dives and has experienced many underwater adventures including diving with humpback whales, whalesharks and schools of hammerheads, sometimes getting himself into trouble to get “the shot”. He has dived in:
Great Barrier Reef
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Indonesia – Bali, Lombok, Komodo Island, Moluccas, Derawan, Rajah Ampat, Sulawesi
Malaysia – Sabah
Red Sea – Egypt and Sudan
Costa Rica (Cocos Island)
New Zealand (Poor Knights Islands)
Aside from many mountains in many states of Australia, he has climbed:
Double Cone in the Remarkables, New Zealand
6000m peak near La Paz, Bolivia
Mt Kilimanjaro – 5895m – Tanzania
Mt Sinai, Egypt
Pisang Peak, Himalayas
If you ever meet Michael, ask him about his mountain climbing experiences. We could devote a whole website to stories about his high altitude adventures!
“I seem to be at odds with almost all of the landscape photography profession; I seek to simply convey the scene that I see. I try to capture it with the best light possible, at the best time of day, with the best camera equipment I have at my disposable. The resulting print has been produced in such a way that I feel that it accurately conveys the beauty of the scene. I do not use Photoshop techniques to obtain dramatic but unnatural-looking scenes. This is not what landscape photography is all about. For me, it is about conveying the incredible beauty that nature offers – the beauty that only 4 billion years of evolution of life and landscape can yield. Therefore the planet and her life is the art of nature photography. I only witness, capture, and convey it. This is why I try to predominantly photograph in wilderness areas, places that are untouched by the destructive and disrespectful hand of man.”
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
― Ansel Adams
“The Earth is Art, The Photographer is only a Witness ”
― Yann Arthus-Bertrand,
“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”
― Ansel Adams
“A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you.”
― Brigitte Bardot
“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.”
― Lisa Magnum
“A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is thereby a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.”
― Ansel Adams