Harry Frith – Spring/Summer 2015
When I was a kid growing up in Australia in the ’70s my father used to buy a lot of land and one of his purchases was Goat Island on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. We went out there on an old boat to see the island and while we where walking around, the tide went out and the boat broke down, so we were stranded overnight. I loved that we got to make a fire and build a place to stay. That was my first great island experience.
But my father sold the island a few years later and that was it for private islands – until a few years later, when the opportunity to relive some of that private island magic arose. In 2013, I got a call from World of Wonder Productions and Private Islands Inc., the companies behind HGTV’s “Island Hunters.” Soon I was traveling from one gorgeous island to the next as Director of Photography for the hit series.
I’m doing the show with Chris Krolow, the publisher of this magazine, and we’ve shot over 100 islands, including properties in Canada, Tahiti, the Philippines, Panama, Australia, Fiji, and Belize. You see islands that are like something out of a James Bond film, with homes that are beautifully designed and full of technology and other islands that are more affordable and still have all the beauty around them. We’ve been with people who have USD 10 million budgets and people with USD 300,000 budgets. The show ranges from the aspirational to the doable.
I’m fortunate to see the islands from every angle and view: from the air, from the water, and also filming on foot. The appeal for me is the privacy and the wonderful water views. When looking for an island to buy, your environment is what you need to consider first of all – what’s around you, the weather conditions. Also, transport. How easy is it to get to and from the island with supplies?
Georgian Bay, Ontario is probably the most beautiful place that I’ve been and it was one of the first places we went. It really left an impact on me. It has all the seasons. You’re able to swim there in the summertime, the water’s really warm, and then the water freezes over in winter. It’s also easily accessible so you could get to your island every week or two. We stayed on Chris’s island there, had a great meal and sat on the deck and looked at the stars reflected on the water. Sleeping is so peaceful because there’s nothing around.
The question people always ask me is, “How do these people afford this?” And I just say, “It’s not always out of reach. Mostly they just work hard and they make good financial decisions. There are small affordable islands all over.”
But I can’t make a decision on my own island yet, because we’ve got so many more islands to see for the show.
Director of Photography, HGTV: Island Hunters