Tom O’Dea of Tom O’Dea- Visual Storytelling is creating postcards, and a 2022 calendar made up of his photos of Yass. He’s calling on the community to help him choose which ones.

“I’ve been living in Yass for coming up to three years now and I’m just daily struck by the raw beauty of the place,” said Tom.

“Basically people have been saying some great things about my photos and I’ve got 1200 followers on my photographic page, with the majority of them coming from Yass.”

“I was talking to a couple of them and they suggested doing photos and calendars and things like jigsaw puzzles. Then, I got a message from someone the other day saying ‘hey I’d like to get this photo that you put up printed onto glass for my wall above my dining room table’,” he said.

Tom ultimately decided that he’d prefer to start with something smaller and opted to take the postcard route. He chose to focus on Yass, as he noticed other postcard options had a wider Yass Valley offering.

“There’s some stuff at the visitor centre about Yass already but it’s focused on the full Shire. I thought I’d do something that’s just Yass town based,” he said.

The response so far from the community, according to Tom, has been nothing short of incredible.

“It’s unbelievable! I don’t claim to be a social marketing anything but it was a really good move. I’ve had an extra almost 100 follows and likes of the page and I put that post up just yesterday, so that’s roughly a 10% increase in followers as a result of that post,” he said.

Ultimately, Tom’s decision to leave it up to the public to vote is so that the photos selected are uninfluenced by his own bias and the memories he attaches to each picture. In addition, he thinks this is the best way of finding his best photographs.

“I just thought rather than me decide, I’d let the people speak because ultimately they’re going to have different relationships with my work than I am. My work is clouded by what might’ve happened on that day,” he said.

Tom will ensure that local small businesses benefit from the project.

“Of the top ten votes I’ll get them made into postcards and I’ve already been talking to DeSigns by Joe here in Yass and they’re going to do the printing for me.”

“I’ve spoken to Trader & Co and they’re going to stock the calendars and I’ve just got to work out a way of selling the postcards and it’s all just one of the many beautiful things about Yass. Everyone working together to something new and it might not work but you’ve got to give these things a go,” he said.

Tom’s aim isn’t to make significant profits or any profit at all for that matter. Instead, he wants to showcase his photography and the town of Yass that he’s come to love so much. He also would like to see some funds go towards local charities.

“The other ongoing benefit apart from getting some cool photos and supporting local business is that some charities are hoping to get a bit of support from the donations I’m going to give on the back of the sales.”

“The more people that vote, the better representation of what people want to see it will be, and if those go well I’ll be looking to expand it and it will always have a charity or community focus in mind,” he said.

To vote for your favourite images, to receive updates on the postcards and to continue following Tom’s work, head to the Tom O’Dea-Visual Storytelling Facebook page. The competition will close on Friday, so get in quick before you miss your opportunity to vote.

Max O’Driscoll