WA to Warwick: How a love of photography spans the nation
FOR WARWICK photographers, social media turned out to offer something other than memes last week, when creators of Aussie Hobbie Photography finally got the chance to meet Western Australian member Melanie Cooper.
While the Facebook page was originally formed by Jodie Locke and Steven Kasper, who are well known for their photography on the Southern Downs, it quickly attracted interest from all over the world, including in Perth where Melanie lives.
After private messaging each other four years ago, Jodie and Melanie quickly formed a tight-knit bond and soon found out they even had children of similar ages.
"It's almost a sixth sense, clicking with people who are so similar to you,” Jodie said.
"Our kids even started pen-palling each other and sending postcards from Warwick and Perth, with the sights of the towns.”
Still, because of the distance, Jodie and Melanie often referred to each other as their 'imaginary friends'.
But all that changed on Wednesday when the pair finally got to meet face to face.
"When we met, Melanie said to me, 'we're not imaginary friends any more',” Jodie said.
Melanie also had her own reason for wanting to catch up with Warwick members.
"My husband has been pretty sick and one day I was chatting to Jodie about it and she somehow got my address and they all sent me a card,” she said.
"It was when they sent that, that I thought they're beautiful people.
"That they didn't even know me and cared enough.
"That was the clincher.”
Of course, the visit also gave Melanie a chance to see all the sites she had seen snapped around town for years.
"Poor Jodie, I kept saying 'stop the car I have to take a photo',” Melanie said.
The page has long been a way to connect Warwick photographers together, something Steven Kasper said was all due to the scenic sights of the region.
"Melanie said to us, 'I travelled the world but this is one place I really love', Steven said.
"There's so much within a short distance.
"It really is a photographer's playground.”