This guy wins the prize for traveling the farthest for a photo shoot. Not only did he travel over from the US, but he came from the farthest corner of that country – all the way from Florida!
I’ve been photographing Carter long before he was a teenager, since he was about six years old. My son and Carter grew up together in California, homeschooled in the crazy city that is San Francisco, camped in the majesty of Yosemite, and grew into young adults through their time in the same youth group.
So when Carter and another one of their friends came to visit Joey to commemorate the year they all graduate from high school, Carter’s mom thought it be a great opportunity to do his high school senior portraits in Melbourne. I couldn’t agree more!
For two weeks, our family had a raucous time reconnecting with the boys! We shared many laughs over old memories and had many conversations around the similarities and differences between life in the US and Australia.
Here are Carter’s thoughts on his first trip down under and some of the photos from his senior portrait shoot in Melbourne.
What brought you to Australia to begin with?
I came to see my old friend, Joey, who had moved to Australia and I hadn’t seen in a long time. The added bonus that convinced me to go is how beautiful I’ve seen Australia to be in pictures, like the beaches.
Before I came to Australia what were your perceptions?
For one, I thought it would be super hot. It was not as hot as I was expecting. It was probably about the same as Florida. It was really nice to not have humidity though, so it made the hot feel less intense. I expected it to be a little more wild, but maybe I get that from memes. Kind of like what people think about Florida – that everyone’s crazy here. That’s almost what I expected it to be here, like Crocodile Dundee kind of stuff. I mean… I guess I didn’t really expect that, but in the back of my mind that’s kinda what I thought.
What were a couple things you were surprised to learn about Australia?
Of the Australias that I met, I was surprised to learn that Australians think America is super crazy and violent. I was surprised to see how many Asians were there, too. It makes sense being so close to Asia, but it was another thing that I wasn’t expecting.
What was cool about seeing all the Asian culture was we had really great food. Asian food was everywhere, really good and authentic. It was cool to meet first generation people directly from Asia too. Like getting to talk to Joey’s grandparents from Malaysia and hearing their stories.
What are some of you favorite memories from your trip?
One of my favorite memories was scootering downtown. It felt super dangerous but it was also super fun. Exploring Melbourne was very cool. Snorkeling at the beach in Sydney was another highlight. I also just really enjoyed hanging out with Joey’s family. Playing tennis, going to church together and eating dinner together.
What is something you think Australians misunderstand about the US?
Don’t write off visiting America because you’re afraid of getting shot. I never walk outside worrying that I’m going to get shot. I never go to school worrying that I’m going to get shot.
One thing I’d recommend for anyone who wants to visit the US is that there are some really cool national parks with really great hikes. One of my favorite things to do growing up was to go to Yosemite every year and explore the woods and see the giant mountains. So what’s cool about the US is that there are so many different landscapes. There are beautiful beaches in Florida, mountains in California… it’s super diverse.
Would you come back?
If I come back I hope to do a lot of the same stuff. I feel like I did everything I wanted to do while I was there and I didn’t miss out on anything. It was a super great trip. Maybe I’d like to play more tennis.
Also traveling by myself wasn’t too bad because I was with Xavier. I’ve also traveled by myself in the US, so I’m used to hopping onto planes and finding terminals. The only thing that was trickier was all the passport checks, but even that wasn’t bad. I think I could have done that by myself, but it was much more fun to have a person with me.
How has this experience changed you?
It grew my confidence to know that I figured how to go to a completely different country without my parents. I never felt nervous at all, except when I was in San Francisco and we were about to leave for Australia. Then Xavier and I were like “oh, wait, we’re about to leave for Australia now.” That was the only time either of us felt nervous. I did not feel nervous at all on the way back.
What part of the photoshoot did you enjoy most?
I really enjoyed the Brighton Beach photoshoot during sunset. We were all just hanging out and chilling and casually taking pictures. That was really, really fun.
What kind of things are you interested in?
I really love creating stuff, whether it’s physically making stuff or digitally making stuff. Right now I’m really into creating digital content.
I created a video about my Australia trip. That video is one doing really well on Youtube. It’s one of my better performing videos. I’ve been growing my channel for four years, since 2019. What YouTube has taught me is that I love video editing and it’s what I want to pursue a career in. Growing on YouTube forced me to edit videos so I feel I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I was completely self taught though, using YouTube. It’s also taught me the skill of talking to a camera. It’s built up my confidence as well. So YouTube has done three things – taught me how to video edit, how to talk to a camera, and it’s built my confidence.
What are you looking forward to doing after graduation?
I’d like to video edit for the Daily Wire news organization up in Nashville, Tennessee. I want to continue to grow my YouTube channel and on the side do some editing for other YouTubers. That’s the main plan.
What was your favorite photo from the photoshoot?
There were two. The first one is of me with the city of Melbourne behind me. I was kinda looking off into the distance. That was probably my favorite. The other one I really like is the one where I was sitting at the bus stop and my reflection was behind me. I really liked those because we spent a lot of time in the city when I was in Australia, so those pictures mean a lot to me.
How about you? I loved hearing from Carter that he enjoyed himself on his trip, but surely he hasn’t done everything! What do you think Carter missed doing this time around? Leave a comment below with what he should do next time he’s in the land down under.