Burning Disaster


Sonya Clarke

Finalist in

Upper Primary Category

Written Statement

Australia is sometimes called the ‘fire continent’ because the ecosystem of the world’s driest inhabited land has been shaped by repeated burning. But even the fire continent has never seen anything like the 2020 fires that burnt through the country. These three images demonstrate that the fires could be the last straw that drives fragile healthy farming life and animal populations over the brink. All three images were captured using a mobile device.

Taking the first image from behind the two subjects who are viewing the Australian countryside following the devastating fires creates an illusion of depth and height with the subjects. This enables the dry land in the background to be captured, evoking more emotion with the viewer.

This is dissimilar to the second image that captures the damage caused to the land itself. Using ‘panoramic’ setting on my device I was able to convey movement in the image, highlighting how quickly the fire swept through Australian countryside. I also included items of distraction – such as the leaves on the ground – to add drama.

The third image was composed using the ‘rule of thirds’, I used two vertical lines and two horizontal lines which were displayed on my iPhone, then placed the wallabies in the bottom–right corner intersections. This ensured the curled up victim of the fire was the focus of the image. The inclusion of a ‘light flow’ seen on the top of the animal was a deliberate edit because I think it captured the weather on the day, which was hot and steamy. This complemented the mood of many of the iconic Australian animals which, as a result of the fires, are now fragile and face extinction.


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