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    Posted on 10 Jul 2014

    23 Photos That Reveal What Really Matters To Australians

    Canon asked people around Australia to submit photos of something that mattered to them, and the results are both beautiful and revealing.

    1. Protecting our wildlife.

    Heath Holden / Via Canon Shine

    "As occupants of this earth, we must start caring for it more than we currently do," says photographer Heath Holden. "Money is not number one."

    2. Celebrating diversity.

    Nic Porter / Via Canon Shine

    "I am passionate about celebrating diversity and culture," reveals Nic Porter. "We should all take the time to learn from and appreciate our differences (and similarities). This image represents a young Indigenous man's pride in his culture."

    3. Having fun outdoors.

    Julie Kerbel / Via Canon Shine

    The photographer Julie Kerbel says this image represents to her the importance of going screen-free. "My message to kids is 'unplug your screens'! Get up! Get out! Explore, have fun, develop your talents, be part of a team and build friendships that last a lifetime. There's a whole world out there waiting to be discovered," she says.

    4. Dealing with drought-ridden land.

    Andrew / Via Canon Shine

    "Farmers are having to move their cattle from bare, drought inflicted land in search of the remaining pastures left in Queensland," says Andrew, who took this shot. "Drought has resulted in many farmers taking their own lives through tough times."

    5. Admiring the world around you.

    Shay / Via Canon Shine

    "This is a street performer in Sydney. The music was so beautiful and the expression of his face haunted me, so I came back for a photo," says Shay. "Sometimes we need to stop to smell the roses and... admire what we have."

    6. Removing stigma around physical disability...

    Sharon M / Via Canon Shine

    Emily James, the subject of this photo by Sharon M, says, “I study at university; volunteer at Taronga Zoo; take buses, trains and aeroplanes. I embrace social inclusion; I seek relationships, friendships, opportunities and my independence. I enjoy life.”

    7. And mental illness.

    Rachel / Via Canon Shine

    "So many people say 'I’m fine', and continue to struggle to carry the weight of depression alone" explains Rachel. "To overcome the stigma of mental illness, it takes more than just one’s strength and courage; it takes an army of support."

    8. Happiness in hard times.

    Katrina Logan / Via Canon Shine

    "This photo of our son speaks a thousand words and shines a light on childhood cancer," says Katrina Logan. "Cancer is an emotional roller-coaster. Everyone's cancer journey is unique, but everyone experiences the full spectrum of emotions - even happiness!"

    9. Animal rescue.

    Amanda Whelan / Via Canon Shine

    "Monty and Emmy were abandoned and treated as disposable, a story heard far too often in today’s society," explains Amanda Whelan. "These two showed their inspiring resilience and love of life. Finally safe and loved thanks to Labrador Rescue."

    10. Promoting organ donation.

    Bakerl / Via Canon Shine

    The photographer, who submitted the image under the username Bakerl, explains, "Around Ian's waist is a machine pumping his heart. Without it, he dies instantly. Waiting for a transplant, the ocean soothes. He wants to swim but he can't. With the blessing of a donor’s family he will swim. Promoting transplants is vital."

    11. The joy of birth.

    Kate Kennedy / Via Canon Shine

    Kate Kennedy, a birth photographer, says, "With birth intervention and caesarean statistics soaring in Australian hospitals, this mum chose to birth at home with the support of two skilled midwives, her husband and son. This is the joy of birth!"

    12. Moving forward.

    Dave / Via Canon Shine

    "How times have turned full circle. Courage and equality, working together as one, is our future," says Dave.

    13. Appreciating mums.

    Kylie May / Via Canon Shine

    "I'd like to shine a light on and celebrate all the wonderful mums out there," says Kylie May. "You're an inspiration with one of the most important jobs in the world. Thank you for selflessly shaping Australia's future and encouraging us to be all that we can be. Thank you."

    14. Highlighting homelessness.

    Marcelo / Via Canon Shine

    "This picture reflects the dichotomy between two completely opposite realities divided by a thin layer of glass," explains photographer Marcelo. "On one side, the glamour and splendour of the QVB's shop window. On the other, the misery experienced by the homeless living on the footpath."

    15. The beauty of nature.

    Terry / Via Canon Shine

    "I want people to understand the beauty of Mother Nature when she is angry. This was shot on the back of a storm cell near Clifton and I know that if people would just stop and look, it would give them a whole new perspective on life," says Terry.

    16. And its power.

    Palerang / Via Canon Shine

    "The force of nature never fails to inspire me and remind me that we cannot own it; we can only be awed by it," says photographer Palerang.

    17. Exploring the world.

    Lina J / Via Canon Shine

    Lina J explains the concept of her image is "seeing life through the eyes of a child... appreciate. Dream. Stand still. Explore the world around you with wonder and delight."

    18. Helping vulnerable children.

    Steve Finkel / Via Canon Shine

    "In 2014, every child deserves a family and somewhere safe to live," says photographer Steve Finkel." We have a world of riches, but millions and millions of children have no families, no hope and no future. Let's work harder for the orphans of the world and do everything we can to change their lives."

    19. Community support.

    Leonie Abbott / Via Canon Shine

    Leonie Abbott explains her photo is about "a community developing a shining light on our youth. Through the warm, nurturing support given by Barnardos Yurungai Care Centre, a young impressionable mind is held up and given perspective on this exciting world."

    20. Emerging sports.

    Jackson Loria / Via Canon Shine

    "Skateboarding matters to me. I believe it is becoming bigger every year as a sport and a way of life. Amazing talent rises from the community and for me creates a journey in my life," reveals Jackson Loria.

    21. Multiculturalism.

    Lina / Via Canon Shine

    "In many ways, we are all different. Yet, at the same time, we all have so much in common. Such is the beauty of the country we call home. So let's celebrate our differences and appreciate our similarities," says Lina.

    22. Switching off from social media.

    Mitchell Henderson / Via Canon Shine

    Mitchell Henderson explains this image is about the way social media is consuming people's lives. "Switch off your phone and enjoy your surroundings, for they may be gone one day."

    23. And the fact that life finds a way.

    Rosie / Via Canon Shine

    "I'd like to shine a light on the amazing faces we share Sydney with but usually don't see," says Rosie. "Beneath our busy city’s wharves, underwater wildlife exists and will seize any opportunity it can to thrive; even moving into empty beer bottles."

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