End of an era – Fraser Coast Chronicle Chief Photographer Alistair Brightman. Photo: Cody Fox
End of an era – Fraser Coast Chronicle Chief Photographer Alistair Brightman. Photo: Cody Fox

'25-year love affair’: Alistair’s amazing Chronicle journey

WHAT a journey the past 9212 days as a press photographer for the Fraser Coast Chronicle has been.

I arrived in the Bay in 1995 with my wife and three young children after a decade at The Cairns Post.

Chronicle editor Nancy Bates took a punt and hired me soon after our arrival. I had no idea it would be the start of a 25-year love affair with the Fraser Coast community.

The early days were spent shooting assignments in the mornings and then a stint in the darkroom processing our black and white film into prints for the next day's paper.

Other staff turned up their noses at the chemical aromas that wafted out of our little dark room in the corner of the advertising department but for us it was where we worked our magic to produce captivating photos for our readers.

But papers were always evolving and in 2002 we had moved into the digital age. No more guessing how many cracker photos you had at the footy or waiting for the film to develop and prints to dry. This revolutionised the way we worked.

I must have pushed the shutter button millions of times and recorded thousands upon thousands of events over the years.

I watched in awe as the Tobruk rolled on its side and disappeared into the waters of Hervey Bay.

Cheered along with the crowd at The Boat Club as PM Kevin Rudd's horse won during his visit to the region on Melbourne Cup Day. Spotted Migaloo from the air as he migrated north off the coast of Fraser Island. Hung from a crane high in the sky over Peppers Resort as it was built.

I captured the historic Mary Ann as she steamed across the equally historic Chowey Creek Bridge west of Biggenden. Many great memories.

But it's been the Fraser Coast locals who've graced the lens of my camera the most. From festivals to footy, car shows to cricket, whale parades, Poppins pageants, Teebar, Torbo races, Tech Challenge and sandcastles. Good times, happy faces.

However, with the glad comes the sad. Too many accidents to ever remember but the worst of them impossible to forget. Tragedy strikes at its own random schedule.

People's lives forever changed in an instant. The work our emergency service personnel provide is inspirational and I thank them for the professionalism they've shown me over the years.

I've watched the faces in politics change throughout the region - federal, state and local - the winners celebrate, the losers lick their wounds and wait for another chance. Countless elections and candidates have come and gone.

From births to deaths and every stage of life in between, myself, and more than a dozen other snappers I have worked alongside, have been recording the memories of our locals and visitors. History for future generations.

I know many are saddened and shocked at the demise of the printed paper.

I feel your grief, but rest assured the journalists that continue to cover this patch will do so with the same enthusiasm and dedication as their predecessors have done for the past 160 years.

My race is run. It's been an amazing journey and such a rewarding career.

A license to experience such a wide range of situations within the Fraser Coast community is a rare privilege.

Thank you to everyone who has allowed me to capture their moment in time. And for those that said nick off to the Nikon over the years, your loss.

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