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Elevated beauty

Words: Martine Perret
Photographs: Martine Perret
Mar 03, 2020

Elevated beauty

Words: Martine Perret
Photographs: Martine Perret
Mar 03, 2020


Western Australia’s captivating beauty was one of the main deciding factors that French- born photographer Martine Perret decided to move to Margaret River permanently. She shares with Sawasdee a series of breathtaking images taken from the air, giving a new perspective on ancient land forms. Perret became interested in aerial photography while working as a UN photographer covering peacekeeping missions in conflict zones such as Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, most recently, in South Sudan and West Africa documenting the Ebola crisis response.

“As a peacekeeping photographer I flew almost weekly on UN helicopters on missions to remote places. I learnt that there was no better way of getting an understanding of unfamiliar terrain than to see it from above.”

Derby’s tidal mudflats located on the edge of King Sound in Kimberley, Western Australia have the largest tide in Australia with changes up to 12 metres in height. Photographing from the air means the mud flats appear as great snaking branches and intricate tendrils.

A series of helicopter photography flights over the Margaret River region led to the publication of her first book, From Above. Her latest book, Beyond, goes further afield to explore the Goldfields-Esperance, Gascoyne, Mid West and Kimberley regions from the air.

“No matter how many times I study the maps of these regions from the Internet to prepare for my photography flights, I discovered that nothing would match the beauty of what I could see with my own eyes,’’ says Perret. “By varying my flying altitude at different times of day and playing with the sun’s angle, I could capture striking colours and highlight unusual shapes and patterns.

Through her camera lens, the tidal mud flats of Derby appear as great snaking branches and intricate tendrils, and the Goldfields salt lakes appear in sensual colours that leave a lasting impression on the mind.

Located just 38 kms north of Broome in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, Willie Creek seen from above is a large tidal estuary with strong tidal currents. A pearl farm is located on the protected estuary and visitors can learn about the process of cultured pearl farming. The nutrients in the waters and mangrove along the banks of the creek provide a sanctuary for fish and birds and is a perfect home for the Pinctada Maxima Oyster considered the “mother of pearl”.

Goldfields-Esperance salt lakes located east of Kalgoorlie.

A view from above Peron’s Peninsula in Shark Bay’s UNESCO World Heritage site. The peninsula is interspersed with gypsum claypans also called “ birridas” or landlocked saline lakes.

A salmon run captured from above Contos Beach in the Margaret River region.

The salt lakes of Goldfields- Esperance region located east of Kalgoorlie.

Hutt Lagoon is a salt lake located near the coast just north of the mouth of Hutt River in the Mid West region of Western Australia. The pink hue is created by the presence of carotenoid-producing algae known as ‘Dunaliella salina’, a source of ß-carotene, a food-colouring agent and a source of vitamin A. Hutt Lagoon is home to the biggest algae farm in the world and the harvest is used to colour food like margarine and as a coating for pharmaceutical drugs.

Big Lagoon in Francois Peron National Park consists of a string of birridas joined by the sea. It’s a popular destination for nature lovers especially for those who enjoy wildlife spotting such as birds, fish and turtles.



Martine Perret began her professional career in Sydney in 1999 working as a freelance photographer and photo desk editor at The Australian Financial Review. Her interest in photojournalism took her to Timor-Leste in 2003 where she developed a working relationship with the United Nations. For the next decade, Perret covered UN peacekeeping missions in conflict zones such as Burundi, the Democratic Republic of The Congo, and most recently in South Sudan, West Africa and North Kivu in the DR Congo (documenting the Ebola crisis response).

She now calls Margaret River in Western Australia home. More of her works can be seen on martineperret.photoshelter.com


Icons made by Gregor Cresnar from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC 3.0 BY