It’s been a good while since we have written from the Armidale headquarters of Austockphoto. And with 2017 recently barging its way into our lives, we thought it a good time to sit down, reflect and project.
After landing solidly on our feet in early in 2016, things became a little less idyllic as the Armidale winter rolled in. Having both grown up in this town, we knew it was coming, but the intensity and duration of the cold season here on the Northern Tablelands is something to behold. And the wind, oh the wind … enough said.
The upside was that this was good weather to bunker down and get some work done. And after a few false starts we launched the brand-sparkling new Austockphoto website for business in September … finally. After 18 months of planning, recruiting, curating and building, it is an understatement to say it was a huge relief to get things underway. Upon reflection, building the site from scratch was a huge learning curve full of frustration, exhilaration and every other emotion in between. We were constantly surprised by the technical requirements of the build, and by how often the goal posts were moved. We are so pleased with and proud of the site we now have: it’s been easy and enjoyable for both photographers and customers alike to interact with, tick. People and businesses small, large and in-between seem to understand and appreciate the philosophy and community of Austockphoto.
The last few months of 2016 were focused on connecting with larger, well-known Australian businesses that we know have a ongoing need for authentic Australian imagery. Big banks, insurance agencies and our household-name media companies have embraced the Austockphoto story, which is really encouraging. We’ve enjoyed a welcome reception of our community-based business model that aims to support local artists, and we look forward to furthering these relationships in 2017.
On a personal note, we have continued to enjoy life in this medium-sized country town. The feeling of connection to the people here has definitely continued to strengthen. The one degree of separation thing still keeps happening too, but this is also mostly good!
And now here we are in 2017, ready or not. Our house lease will soon be up, so come April, we will move out with heavy hearts, but with extreme gratitude for the opportunity and in anticipation of a new chapter. The need to stay on the move, and the fact that winter will be rolling back into town, has prompted us to plan another road trip. The Austockphoto caravan will be back on the road, covering some new territory and spending the third school term of 2017 in… Darwin! Thankfully we have recently been able to trade our not-so-reliable Jeep and take the plunge and join the Landcruiser club. Hopefully this keeps us out of mechanical trouble, and if not, and least they should be able to bloody well fix it! Watch this space…