Dillon Seitchik-Reardon is a visual story-teller, swimming enthusiast and promoter for Australia’s swimmable environment. He and his partner in work and life, Caroline Clements, spent 12 months travelling around our great country documenting and explaining our most important swimming spots with informative how-to's. The trip culminated in a travel guide filled with stunning images and informative tips called Places We Swim. They also recently released the Sydney version of the book! Follow them on Instagram @placesweswim , buy the books HERE and start planning your next swim adventure.
We sent a few questions to Dillon to get his take on the topic of People Power, how he sees his role as a person and what his plans for the future are.
How do you see your role as a promoter of Australia’s natural environment and what do you hope to achieve in your work with Places We Swim and your video work you do for clients?
I subscribe to the old school conservation idea that beautiful places should be shared and experienced. This is probably an underlying theme in all of my work, which tends to focus on travel and nature. We are lucky to live in a country where even our biggest cities have great access to the outdoors, and once someone has a personal connection to a place they are far more likely to become an advocate.
That’s the hidden environmental agenda behind Places We Swim. We want to get people exploring new places and strengthening their relationship with our Australian landscape. It will be too late by the time they realise we have made unwitting environmentalists out of them.
Hammersley Gorge, WA
We had done a lot of research about Western Australia, but nothing prepared us for the colour and scale of the landscapes. There is so much variety that it is impossible to form a singular identity. Karijini National Park is an incredible freshwater oasis in the middle of the Pilbara region. It’s an ancient place and is absolutely humming with energy. We’ve got a particular fondness for Hammersley Gorge because it was our first stop outside of saltwater crocodile country. After months of hyper-vigilance in the Top-End, it was such a relief to have a completely carefree swim again.
You’re a surfer, hiker and general outdoors lover. So why the focus on swimming?
There is a special, childish joy to swimming. I like that people often laugh and scream when the first enter the water. Swimming is so simple and universal. You don’t need to be particularly fit or possess any special equipment to enjoy the water, which makes it favourable to a very broad cross-section of people. Whether it’s at a beach, an outback gorge, a hot spring, or a public pool, swimming provides the perfect access point to so many different landscapes and communities. Unlike surfing, locals are often enthusiastic about sharing their favourite swims.
West MacDonnell Ranges, NT
This is a typical roadside campsite in the West MacDonnell Ranges, just outside of Alice Springs. We lived in our beloved troopy for six months as we made our way up the centre and then around the west coast. The most amazing thing about being out in the Australian desert is the sky. Every night is light show. I think that it is in the most isolated places that I often feel the most connected to the planet. There is a rawness and intimacy that you cannot experience anywhere else.
I’m keen to strip back Dillon Seitchik-Reardon to a person with no camera, no computer or editing software and not even any swim shorts. You are still living in your usual environment and have the same people around you. How do you see your ‘Person Power’ and what do you still possess that gives you the ability to impact on the world in a positive way?
I smile at a lot of people and most of the time they smile back. I think we could all have a positive impact on the world by trying to approach every day with kindness and curiosity. I don’t always get it right, but I think those traits provide a good framework for all relationships, whether with people or nature.
Dalhousie Springs, SA
After many days driving through the treeless red plain of the outback, Dalhousie Springs emerges as a shimmering mirage. This enormous hot spring is very close to the geographic centre of Australia and is fed by the Great Artesian Basin. It’s ancient water that has literally taken millions of years to reach the surface, travelling through the ground from far north Queensland to bubble to the surface here at 38C. One of the most unique and memorable places I have ever been in my life.
You have taken care of some our video production at BLAEK Store in the past and we have loved working with you. I thought it would be cool to get your thoughts on the importance of living a sustainable lifestyle, what sustainable shopping means to you and how you think we can all improve the way in which we care for the natural world. How do the two go hand in hand?
For me, living a sustainable lifestyle is about avoiding growth for the sake of growth. There is always something bigger and better to lust after and it is easy to feel like that is a path to success. I like collaborating with people, but don’t want staff or a large office space. There are always new cameras on the market, but it doesn’t mean you will be a better photographer. I hardly buy anything new, and if I do, I go for a few high-quality things that will last.
It matters how and where things are produced. Food and apparel are the most important to get right, because there is such a big gap between the best and worst practices. Sometimes it is hard to vet every brand yourself, which is why shops like BLAEK Store are so great. You’ve already done the hard work for me.
Collins Flat Beach, Sydney, NSW
For something very local, but still a bit of a secret, this is Collins Flat Beach, just around the cover from Little Manly Cover on the Harbour side. On our quest to find the best places to swim in Sydney for our latest book (Places We Swim Sydney - out October 2020) we discovered this tiny paradise. It's a quiet, protected bay with ideal swimming condition and ice cream delivery by boat in summer.
Would you please share any links where people can find more out about your work?