Two Illawarra photographers have been selected to speak at the country's largest photography conference at the Sydney International Convention Centre in June.
Aperture will be hosted by Ray Martin and include five speakers: conflict photojournalist Stephen Dupont of Scarborough, ocean photographer Ray Collins of Thirroul, plus National Geographic photojournalist Ami Vitale, Australian landscape photography icon Christian Fletcher, and digital photographic artist Tamara Dean.
Dupont will speak to a room full of amateur and professional photographers about his craft and why his passion for working in conflict zones such as the Middle East and Papua New Guinea.
"It's being part of world history and being a witness to that," he said. "My conscience and concern for humanity really compels me to look at things and photograph inhumane things - those stories needs to be told."
Dupont said his work evolved after covering various civil wars around Asia and propelled him to look at the big picture.
"Photography is really the window into the world," he said. "We have a responsibility as photojournalists to bring back the story and the truth."
Dupont's raw honesty has earned him numerous awards and international acclaim. The image which he believed gained the most attention was one he took in Afghanistan in 2005. The graphic and controversial photo captured US soldiers in a different light and prompted change in the US military.
But not all of his photography is confronting. He loves streetscapes while some of his favourite photographs are that of when his daughter was born.
As the evolution of digital technology has made the medium more widely accessible, Dupont said it is still a challenging and competitive industry in which to succeed.
"You can shoot 1000 photographs on an iPhone or you can shoot 1000 photographs on an expensive Canon camera but if you don't have the eye then it doesn't matter," he said.
"Photography is beyond technology, it's an art form. It's something that you have to have the feel, it's like being a sculptor or a painter.
"You have to have a feeling for the moment, the composition and the light and it's not just about holding a digital device and pressing a button."
Meantime, Collins said his talk would be "more than just images". The former coal-miner will discuss overcoming self-doubt, getting over creative blockages and how he feels the ocean heals people.
Collins is still adjusting to being placed among who he calls heavyweights of the industry, though he has also eared much acclaim for his work.
He continues to exhibit his ocean photography around the world, has released two books, has won many international awards and was recently featured in a Patagonia documentary titled Fishpeople.
"One of the aims in my work is to have a signature style that's recognisable when you see it," he said.
"I'm so thankful for living in the Illawarra and having the best studio or cleanest ocean at my doorstep. Wollongong and Illawarra is definitely woven into my work and me as a person."
Aperture Photography Conference, International Convention Centre Sydney, June 22 to 23. www.apertureaustralia.com.au