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bushfire photography tourism

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by smee, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. I don't know whether to be appalled or what about this.
    AMATEUR photographers are queuing up to pay $25 each for a 2 ½-hour tour of homes destroyed in the Black Saturday bushfires, in a move that has angered Tourism Victoria.
    Jo-Anne Kasch has started tours of the bushfire-ravaged town of Narbethong, about 15km from Marysville.
    Ms Kasch has been running the bus tours for about 10 days from the Black Spur Inn where she works, charging $25 including a three-course meal.
    However, the tour has angered Tourism Victoria who is calling for people to boycott the tour. 
    "We wouldn't be encouraging people to take tours like this," Tourism Victoria communications manager Ali Garner said.
    "We wouldn't be supporting people profiting from others' suffering and loss."
    Ms Kasch said she'd had more than 160 bookings from photographers affiliated with the Victorian Association of Photographic Societies.
    She said the tours taught people about the devastation of the Black Saturday bushfires and promoted tourism.
    Related Coverage
        * Reader's Comments: Tourists snapping up bushfire horrorNEWS.com.au,
        * We were abandoned: fire survivorsThe Australian, 21 Mar 2009
        * Plans to boost tourism in VictoriaNEWS.com.au, 13 Mar 2009
        * Blithe oblivionThe Australian, 6 Mar 2009
        * Defiant residents want to return homeNEWS.com.au, 2 Mar 2009 
    Your Say
        what's wrong with taking photos? tourism operators are offering meals and transportation for a tour around the area. tourists taking photos. get over it fellas!
    (Read More)
    Geoffrey Edlund of Darlinghurst
    "The tourism aspect is going to be huge," Ms Kasch said. "There's more interest every day."
    "Today's booked out, Wednesday's booked out, Friday's booked out, Saturday's booked out, Sunday afternoon's booked out, and I haven't even thought about next week yet."
    Ms Kasch said the tour was not meant to take advantage of people who had lost their homes in the fires.
    "The owners are actually approaching me to go on their properties," she said.
    "I ask them, 'Is there anywhere on your property that is somewhere where you choose us not to go'.
    "There's not been a problem at all and the photographs are so respectful."
    Ms Kasch said she refused to take anyone to properties where people had died.
    "It's not ghoulish," she said.
    She had rejected requests to go to Marysville, where at least 45 people died in the fires.
    Joseph Damenia, from Frankston Photographic Club, said it was a chance to "shoot something unusual".
    "I wanted to come by myself but I thought it might be a bit ghoulish," he said.
    Dennis Cosh, the owner of a home Ms Kasch's group visited yesterday, said: "In some ways you can't really stop them because this is Australia's history."
    Marysville resident Vicki Moritz, who lost her house, her two dogs and her cat in the fires, said she was not totally opposed to photographers in the town but understood why some were against it.
    "I'm a keen amateur photographer, and there's a certain beauty about it," she said.
    "As long as they eat in town, and are not intrusive, it's OK. It's a tourist town after all." 

  2. $25 including a 3 course meal, I don't think that's profiteering...

    But I do like the thought of informing people first hand of whats happened, I've only got a small comprehension of what must have gone through and if its a narrated tour, then I think its all the better, and people like that will most likely come back when its re-built to see it in glory (unless its just your certain photographic nations ;) ).
  3. Yer I'm in 2 minds about it.
    I would like to see the money or a portion of it goes to the photography subjects and not just the tour operator.

    Personally though I wouldn't do it and I think the tour operator is a vulture.
  4. She works at the Black spur Inn so she is hardly an outsider being a Vulture.
    Towns like this need tourists in a way it helps bring money in to the area and helps business keep going.
  5. Nature is terrible. I dont see people complaining about going to look at volcano's, tidal waves, glaciers.

    Hecatares of burnt land would certainely put me in my place. I dont thing it's a bad thing at all so long as the losses are respected and residents not hassled unduly.
  6. It's becoming clear that there is no uniform opinion from the residents about what they want from outsiders. The same thing happened in Kinglake a week ago. It seems (to me) that the people who make their living from tourists are desperate to get people back, but also that there are a lot of others who don't want them yet, or in some cases, ever.

    I don't know how you deal with that, and I don't know whether to go back or not. I was travelling past Strath Creek a couple of weeks ago, didn't know it had been so close to the fire (CFA map showed it kilometres away, but it was only about 1 k) but that didn't stop a couple of locals hurling abuse as a went past. I understood their feeling but I wasn't there to gawk, just by accident.

    At the very least the property owners should be getting a cut IMHO, and of course no casualty sites.
  7. Good on her.

    Feeding the tourists and driving them around to see the devastation is fine by me.

    If you must be angry, direct your anger to those that will profit from the photos.

    If it was just for amateurs, then it's all good ;)
  8. Tourism Victoria is just bitching because someone has come up with an idea they didn't, and they didn't get to spend a couple of mill of the taxpayers' money on the consultancy fee.....
  9. But Strathcreek is a public road and a direct way to Flowerdale, Broadford or Yea. How can someone complain because you're riding on a public road? If you were up a farm track, taking photo's that'd be different. If I was living in Lilydale, then the way to Broadford is via Strathcreek. What they want me to do, add an hour to my journey. I'd always stop at the general store for a cup of their (really bad) coffee and some nibbles before my day.

    As for their 'cut', well, perhaps, but that's why I donated to a support fund.

    I understand why people would be sensitive.

    When I did a tour of the GAR in 2003, I only took photo's of burned areas that didn't have any housing. Even then, I was aware it might look in poor taste, but it's important to remind ourselves just what bushfire does.
  10. Is this really different to rubberneckers though at car accidents?? I purposely didn't go to the suburbs of the fire victims here in Canberra out of respect, i figured the last thing they needed was a bunch of people gawking at their misfortunes.
  11. I honestly don't blame them to some extent. It was slightly more complicated in that I made a simple navigational error and ended up somewhere I didn't intend to be (between Strath Creek and Flowerdale), then got out as promptly as possible. These people have been out of touch of the normal flow of life for a while now and quite properly are on their guard all the time for looters and the like.
    But there are others in the same area whose businesses need passing trade. It's a difficult situation and one that could eventually lead to trouble if it's not handled competently and swiftly. The rebuilding needs to get under way as soon as it possibly can, to reassure the survivors that they are still a part of the wider community.
  12. I've been in & out of the fire towns since just after the fire tore through and have treated with respect by the locals but I'm in there for a reason.

    One of the first things I say to the locals is that the camera I'm carrying is for work related photo's of our damaged sites and equipment, I've seen enough of the other damage in the media and for myself that I don't need to take photo's of it.

    I was in Marysville yesterday for the first time and it aint pretty and driving past a friends burnt out business is just plain depressing.