White-knuckling their way to remote parts of the country on light aircraft and selling images to Apple is all in a day’s work for Salty Wings’ Perth-born Jampal Williamson and Michael Goetze.
We chat to Jampal about the thrilling journey the duo has had building their epic portfolio of aerial photography via drone, and their exciting new retail space at Enex Perth.
It’s only been three years since you and Michael joined forces to create Salty Wings. What were you both doing previous to that?
I was doing media, mostly freelancing in photography, filmmaking and music videos. Michael’s an interesting cat. He did a double degree in economics and commerce before taking a few years off to live the life down south surfing and trading online. We went to the same high school, but it wasn’t until we met about 5 years after school at a mate’s party that we realised we shared a passion for photography.
Why the focus on the coastline?
Well who doesn’t want to be at the beach? Humans are so attracted to it because of the lifestyle, the colours and the feeling. It’s a good mediator for life – everyone can always retreat back to the ocean to find a sense of calm.
Is there anything truly unique that stands out about the WA coastline?
Definitely. The whole coast is unique. From the travel that I have done around the world and seeing places I grew up dreaming about, coming back home to Western Australia I realise we have everything and more here. It’s got the most amazing red and orange colours in the north, and then in the south it’s got some of the bluest water and whitest sand I’ve ever seen. And it’s so clean! We have really unique textures and features, and it’s so big that there is no one around.
Tell us about your latest venture in to a retail space. What prompted this?
We opened on February 23. It’s our first shop so we’ve jumped in the deep end with it. It’s been a great experience so far, meeting a lot of people and understanding how a physical shop works. When you work online you basically build digital assets – a following, a portfolio and relationships with people in the virtual world. We love that and we’re always looking to expand, so an opportunity to venture in to a physical asset is something we were really interested in. Being able to connect with people in the real world is something that happens less and less with people who work online. We sell fine art photography, so it’s important for people to be able to see our products.
Can you tell us about the image you recently sold to Apple?
Apple found us through Instagram and we ended up selling two images to them. The first being one we retain the rights to for use in our marketing, and the second they bought exclusively so we had to remove it from our online and print store. One was for all the iPads they put out – the iOS11 – and the next was the iOS wallpaper image that came stock standard on all of the new iPhones 8 and 10. It was pretty surreal. Mum was proud!
In 2017 you ventured outside your home state of WA. Where have you taken your aerial photography since?
We’ve done Hawaii, Positano, Sardinia, Capri, Norway, Iceland, Tahiti, Indonesia, Oregon, California and London. Michael is in Utah at the moment and he has a fascination with the rugged textures. The Grand Canyon is the most well known, but there are similar ridgelines and canyons there that are just mind blowing. It’s a bit of a mix up too from our usual style with not having the ocean in it.
Travel plans for 2018?
For me personally, this year I’ll mostly stay in Australia and shoot on the east coast. I’d love to go to New Zealand if I can fit that in. I have one other destination that is my dream destination, but the last time I told someone about it everyone went there and started shooting it, so I’m keeping it under wraps! All I’ll say is that it’s an island off the east coast of Africa.
With this being your day job, the line between work and play must be pretty blurred…
I don’t really see the work we’re doing as work. My time off is photographing and travelling. It has all blurred into one and I’m so grateful and thankful that it has. Being able to travel the world with Michael, who I see as my big brother and good friend, we’re very lucky.