Frequent flyer: John Tsiavis

Open to new experiences ... Australian photographer John Tsiavis.
Open to new experiences ... Australian photographer John Tsiavis.

This photographer's work feeds his passion for travel.

Q Where are you off to next?

A Central Australia to shoot stills for The Rover, which has Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce in it. After that I'll be going to New York.

Q How did you get into shooting movie stills?

A I grew up in Sunshine, Melbourne, and was at RMIT studying photography when Jane Scott, the producer, contacted the school looking for someone to shoot stills on the movie Head On. I got the job. I was 20. It was an amazing break. I've been working ever since.

Q What was your last trip?

A I was in London and Istanbul about three months ago. I try to tag things up. That trip was to work on London Fashion Week, but I added on Istanbul for a photographic series I've been working on for myself the past 10 years. It's a really good way to see the world, keep yourself inspired. I'm primarily a portrait photographer, but this series is about empty places.

Q Are you a heavy packer?

A Yeah, it's ridiculous. I have to pack camera equipment, all the paraphernalia that goes with it. The last trip was insane - London, Istanbul, winter clothing, summer clothing. It kills the people I travel with because I always palm my stuff off to them. I really need a sherpa.

Q Best travel advice?

A Just be open to new experiences. Don't be rigid. Find time to keep things loose. I surprise myself sometimes. I turn a switch in my head and realise that when I'm travelling I'm not in control of my environment, so I just let it go.

Q Essential carry-on items?

A I travel with a really big black leather bag that everyone thinks makes me look like a crazy bag lady. In it is my panoramic film camera, film, iPad, iPhone, earphones, speakers, pawpaw ointment, my sleeping tablets, lots of other bits and pieces.

Q What has photography and travel taught you?

A All my shoots are unique experiences. Having done it for as long as I have, 15 years, I've realised you need to respect the moment and understand you will never be in that position again. I used to take things a bit for granted. It's the same with travel. You will never be in that same place and time, so respect the moment.

See John Tsiavis's work at

This story Frequent flyer: John Tsiavis first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.