The story behind the photo: ‘Frog in a Bog’ by Tom Owen Edmunds

By AG STAFF 2 October 2023
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This forms part of a series of Q&As with winning photographers from this year’s Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year awards.

Tom Owen Edmunds was crowned winner of the Urban Animals category in the 2023 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year (AGNPOTY) competition.

His winning image, titled Frog in a Bog was taken on an Apple iPhone, and shows a green tree frog (Litoria caerulea) in a public toilet in Walgett, New South Wales

“One of the joys of Australia is that nature is everywhere. I love rural Australia – and the ever present dunny frogs – and liked the space-age look of this dunny juxtaposed with the ancient frog. My brother-in-law tells me a frog in the dunny means the water is clean… better that than a snake!,” Tom says.

Were you unexpectedly there or had you planned to cover this moment? 

I was on a road trip, visiting my sister and brother in law at the Walgett Show, when I cameacross this scene in a very well maintained public lavatory. I love the fact that nature in Australia nature is everywhere, and I was immediately struck by the gleaming space-age dunny harbouringan ancient rainforest-green frog. My brother in law tells me a frog in dunny means the water is clean – and it’s certainly better than a snake

Photographer Tom Owen Edmunds. Image credit: supplied by Tom Owen Edmunds

Did you have special equipment? 

This photograph was taken an iPhone. I love the fact that the quality is now good enough to be selected for an international competition and hung in major museum. There were no particular technical challenges, just a question of framing. Cameras on mobile phones have democratizedphotography: we are all photographers now. But of course it’s never been the camera that counts– we need first to see an image, then capture it in a way that is pleasing to the eye. 

Any additional thoughts?

I now work in rainforest conservation but had a misspent youth as a wildlife and travel photographer in the 80s and 90s. This is the first photographic competition I’ve entered for over 25 years so I am delighted to have an image included. 

Related: Winners: 2023 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year