27.08.2021 Gary Heery

GFX100S: "BIRDSCAPE" x Gary Heery

Gary Heery

Born in Sydney, Australia, Gary Heery studied sociology and psychology at the University of New South Wales. In 1974 he moved to the US where he co-founded India America, a magazine chronicling Native American society and culture in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Two years later he moved to Los Angeles where he photographed album covers for Roy Orbison, Frank Zappa, Ray Charles, B.B. King and Joe Cocker. He also shot portraits of film and music stars for magazines including Life, Esquire, Rolling Stone and Interview. In 1981, Heery moved to New York, opening a studio in Soho where he photographed album covers for Madonna and Paul Simon (Graceland) and advertising campaigns for Swatch, Karl Lagerfeld and Sony.
Since returning to Sydney in 1987, Heery has worked in advertising and fashion with clients such as American Express, Pepsi, Westpac, Telstra, Toyota, Lane Crawford, Qantas and Coca-Cola. He has shot award-winning campaigns for the Australian Wool Board, Trent Nathan, Dove and Sony. He was a three-time finalist in the Citi Bank Portrait Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW, a finalist in the National Gallery Portrait Prize and was selected for the American Photographer Annual.
He is a much sought-after speaker at photographic seminars. His exhibitions and books include Nudes.


This review was never going to be a technical one, I am not a technical photographer… I am a classically trained portrait photographer who wants the camera to move out of the way and let my audience connect directly with my images.

I guess you could say I am predominantly known as a record cover/celebrity photographer for most of my life. When you shoot a cover for Madonna or Roy Orbison that sort of thing tends to stick to you like glue, but over the last 5 or so years I have moved more into a fine art/landscape career and that has allowed my imagination to run wild.

I still approach everything as I would a portrait. If I am shooting a landscape or flower for example I will engage with it in the same way I would a person or animal and try to show off its beauty in the best light possible.

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

In moving from portrait to landscapes, I have found the need for a large-format camera with the highest possible resolution and fine detail and the GFX100S has filled this gap in my kit perfectly.

As a portrait/studio photographer I would choose to shoot tethered, but these days I now tend to go out on my own to photograph landscapes.

With the GFX100S large 3.2” LCD screen I am able to get a clear representation of my image & detail within the histogram without having to bring a much larger studio setup.

For this set of images, I decided to go to the Flinders Ranges. I was particularly interested in the arid red landscape and the birds that I imagined would live inside this scene.

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

As my next section of this Birdscapes series will feature rainforests. I feel the flinders perfectly juxtapose this and provide a strong contrast between my works.

In the past I would have been reluctant to take a zoom lens for a project like this as I have always opted for the optical quality of a fixed lens. The GF32-64 image quality is outstanding, it enabled me to only carry two lenses for this entire trip.

The purpose of all my work is to bring my imagination to print and print as large as possible. There is nowhere to hide with print, the truth is in the detail and it is revealed very quickly.

Picasso once said, “Art is the lie that makes us realize the truth”

That saying is in the back of my mind a lot these days. In most of my work I have a fully realized vision of what I want it to be without ever touching a camera, this has led me to building scenes much bigger than what one image could ever portray.

I don’t necessarily get locked into an exact idea, but I will draw out what I envision and then I go out and try and execute it.

Because compositing is a big part of my work I needed a camera that would keep up with me and allow me to capture birds in flight for my newest series “Birdscapes”

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

Recently I had to photograph finches, they are agile, nimble, and small birds that are notoriously hard to photograph and the GFX100S handled this task with ease.

I had to be back far enough to see where the bird was coming from and use the continuous shooting to have the finch dart through my frame.

Because of the GFX100S 102 Megapixel sensor, I was able to crop in to get the fine details of the tiny finch and bring it into my latest composite.
I was surprised that the camera was able to keep up with this type of work, it far exceeded my expectations and the continuous shooting was just enough to get the finch as it glided through my frame.

As I continue to work through my Birdscapes project I look forward to putting this camera further through its paces, pushing it into shooting wildlife in a different way than it was ever intended, if you ever get the chance to use a digital large format camera for this kind of fine art printing I can guarantee you it will be very hard to go back.

GFX100S & GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR