Step into the enchanting world of Brooke Miles, the visionary photographer behind Above and Below Gallery. Specialising in capturing the awe-inspiring beauty of North Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Whitsunday Islands, Brooke’s work transcends traditional photography. 

With a deep passion for nature and an unwavering commitment to conservation, she transforms her lens into a portal, inviting viewers to experience the serene and vibrant landscapes both above and below the ocean’s surface. 

Join us as we explore Brooke’s incredible journey, the unforgettable moments that shape her artistry, and the profound impact she hopes to inspire through her breathtaking imagery…

Your gallery specialises in capturing the breathtaking beauty of North Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Whitsunday Islands. What initially drew you to these particular locations for your photography?

I moved here with my wedding and commercial photography business initially in 2008 and then permanently in 2012 from Scarborough/Perth/Western Australia. I was immediately drawn to the islands and underwater playground, where I developed my aerial and underwater photography skills, leading to the creation of the gallery.

The islands are like nowhere else in the world. Seventy-four islands surrounded by reefs, jungles, and unparalleled beauty. Just a bit further out is the Great Barrier Reef. The first time I flew over the reef (with camera in hand, of course!), I was blown away. I looked left, I looked right, and it just kept going. It’s truly spectacular. Now, every time I go out to the islands or the reef, the light is different, offering a new angle to capture. It’s a never-ending canvas, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to capture it.

Additionally, the town of Airlie Beach is small enough to feel special, and the tourism vibe brings a constant, lively atmosphere. I could go on and on about what drew me to this place and what keeps me here. It’s truly amazing!

Your online gallery offers a diverse range of oceanic imagery, from vibrant coral reefs to stunning sunsets. Can you share some memorable moments or experiences you’ve had while capturing these scenes?

Honestly, with aerial and underwater photography, every capture is a memorable experience. The aerial shoots of the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef take my breath away every time I’m in the air. The underwater encounters always keep me guessing; you never know what you’re going to see or how the conditions will present. Some of my favourite dives are on the GBR at Heron Island, with its seemingly endless reef beds and marine life. A recent highlight was aboard the Mike Ball Liveaboard on the northern Great Barrier Reef, where the visibility was crystal clear, and the reefs were m and vibrant. One dive included swimming with around 50 sharks—totally amazing!

The whale encounters in Tonga are truly breathtaking. It’s like being on another planet—swimming and capturing stunning images of these gentle giants is one of my major life highlights. The first time a creature the size of a truck looks right at you with an eyeball the size of a grapefruit, that memory stays strong!

And then there are places like Raja, Mexico, Wolf Rock, Ningaloo—the list goes on! I also have what I call ‘feet on the ground’ images, where I am captivated by light and shapes on land.

Honestly, I’m very blessed to have so many great memories and to have built such a beautiful ‘job’!

The ocean holds such vast and varied beauty. How do you approach the challenge of distilling its essence into a single photograph?

Wow, great question. Honestly, I don’t think you can fully capture it; it’s just too vast. All I can do is capture the life, colour, and beauty that crosses my path in the hope that it connects with someone else. Whether it’s to simply hang on their wall and bring them joy or to inspire conservation, change, or hope.

Your gallery aims to transport viewers to the peaceful coasts through your photography. What emotions or feelings do you hope your artwork evokes in people?

Peace comes to mind first. I hope it slows down their world and mind for a moment. In this fast-paced, screen-fuelled existence we all live in, I hope my images allow people to stop and explore the layers and details within, slowing down time for just a little while.

Beyond being visually stunning, your prints also capture the essence of the ocean’s ecosystem. How do you ensure that your photography reflects the importance of preserving these natural environments?

Thank you for saying so, that’s really lovely feedback. Hopefully, by focusing on the ocean from perspectives most people don’t see for themselves (above and below), I can evoke an emotional connection to these environments. Simply seeing its vastness from above and fragility from below, even through a print, can spark conversation. And from conversation comes action.

The Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands are known for their unique marine life. Can you share any memorable encounters you’ve had with marine creatures while photographing?

The whales of Tonga, for sure. Swimming with these giants was life-changing. Most swims involved a mother and calf, chilling on the surface, which was incredible. But one time, we swam with a ‘heat run’—when 10 or so giant males chase one female. The rumbling sound of the males creates vibrations in the water, and the ocean is literally pulsating around you. The sound was incredible. The skipper would drop us in the ocean, and we’d swim and keep up for a few minutes, then get back in the boat and drop in again in front of them. We’d do this for an hour or so.

My favourite underwater creature is the octopus. They are so clever and interact with you like a timid child. If you spend time with them, they warm up to you and play. So cool!

Your gallery offers both online and in-person experiences for customers. How do you believe experiencing your artwork in person differs from viewing it online?

In person, you can see the texture of the mediums I use to print on and get a feel for the framing options and profiles available. This helps some people, though many buyers know what framing they want and are happy to order the print and have it shipped as a print-only, which is great for international buyers.

When customers visit in-store, they often fall in love with our other options and order their print finished in one of our all-inclusive options (framed print, framed canvas, metal, or acrylic).

What do you hope visitors to your gallery take away from their experience, whether online or in person?

Hopefully, a greater appreciation for nature and its beauty and the importance of keeping it that way. Not everyone is a conservationist, and you don’t have to be to appreciate nature. But if looking at my work—by immersing in the gallery or purchasing a print—can make someone think twice about decisions impacting their environment or spark conversation (which can create change), that’s a great result.

Nature photography often requires patience and timing. Can you walk us through your process when capturing the perfect shot?

A lot of my work involves aerial and underwater imagery, so I am on very limited time (about 30 minutes to an hour per shoot). I consider the tide, wind, cloud cover, and the position of the sun to increase the probability of getting the shots I want, but it doesn’t guarantee them. I can pre visualise my shots as much as I like, but nature will give me what she wants when I’m in the air or under the sea! So sometimes, I just have to roll with it. Sometimes I come back with different shots than I thought I would get!

Aerials are definitely easier to predict compared to shooting underwater. There’s no predictability because you can’t just dial in a turtle or an octopus! You’re scanning each reef bed and coral scape, looking up, down, and all around in case something is swimming past behind you! But when a scene does present itself, I zone in, my heart flutters, and I get a little excited because I feel I may have captured something special!

In addition to photographic prints, your gallery also offers ocean-inspired silk accessories and gifts. What inspired you to expand your offerings beyond prints?

When I was considering opening the gallery, I wanted to offer a gift range too. That was a no-brainer. I had bought a silk scarf (not printed, but plain blue) from a gift shop on my travels years before, and I knew how much I loved it, so I started researching and sampling my own. As soon as I received the first sample, I knew they had to be a staple of the gallery. My dad, a jeweler and my biggest fan (aside from my mum!), made it natural to include his works. The rest has evolved over time due to customer demand and my own love of creating quality souvenirs, not mass-produced rubbish found in most shops—just between you and me!

As the founder of Above and Below Gallery, what values or principles guide your business and artistic endeavours?

I try to be a good human first and foremost. I treat others with respect and am quite transparent. I try to create a good workplace for my team, empowering them to be the best they can be in their roles. Without my team, I wouldn’t have a gallery. There may only be a few of us, but everyone is just as important, and I value them dearly.

When I’m creating, I try to leave little to no footprint. When I’m editing, I try to do justice to the scenes I capture. I am a highly driven businesswoman, but I also like to keep things simple.

How do you stay inspired and motivated in your photography, especially when faced with challenges or creative blocks?

I am constantly inspired by nature and its colours and shapes. Sometimes, I will sit and stare at the ocean without taking a single picture. It’s important to watch sometimes. (This doesn’t apply to underwater photography, as I never go diving without my camera just in case!) Above the waterline, it’s okay to watch and write the ‘shot list’ in your head.

I also go on little photo trips where my goal is to take pictures without pressure to deliver every time. If I get a good shot, great. If not, it’s okay. There’s always next time.

As a business owner, I can get tied up running the business and not creating new work for months on end. Writing goals and setting deadlines can help, but ultimately, it’s up to me to keep myself accountable, which can be hard. Sometimes it’s just a matter of having a ‘get it done’ attitude!

Your gallery is located at The Port of Airlie Marina in Airlie Beach, Queensland. How does the surrounding environment influence your work and the atmosphere of the gallery?

The marina is a wonderful location. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from the main street but offers peace and tranquility not found on the main street. This makes it quieter, which is great for print buyers who want to spend time choosing their artwork (though more foot traffic would be nice!).

The water is literally at our doorstep, adding to the water element found on the walls. People often walk in and say, “Wow, look at those colours—you’ve brought the ocean inside.”

The ocean profoundly impacts many people, whether they live near it or not. How do you believe your artwork can resonate with individuals from diverse backgrounds and locations?

It doesn’t matter what background you come from; everyone who walks into the gallery can appreciate the beauty of the ocean and nature. It’s a bit like music—it speaks no language or every language, depending on how you look at it!

Can you share any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re excited about?

I have set myself a personal challenge of releasing six new collections this year (2024). I have released two already, ‘Rainbow Beach’ and ‘The Rainforest,’ and I look forward to working on and releasing the next four over the next eight months. If you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll be the first to see them.

Your photography captures the ever-changing moods of the ocean. How do you adapt your approach to photography to reflect these changes in light, weather, and atmosphere?

Planning! I plan my shoots around the right tide, wind, and weather predictions to give me a better chance, but even with the best planning, things sometimes don’t go to plan. I can be in the air and get massive cloud cover or diving, and the visibility can turn murky. But this makes every successful shoot and image even more satisfying and, hopefully, valuable!

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers who hope to capture the beauty of nature in their work?

Get offline and go out and shoot! You can only learn so much in the classroom, but you have to get out there, get dirty, and create to learn. Also, don’t overdo it in Photoshop—let nature’s colors speak for themselves.

Beyond showcasing the beauty of the ocean, your prints convey tranquility and serenity. How important is it for you to evoke these feelings in your audience?

It’s very important. Hopefully, this feeling transcends into their home or office space where they choose to hang their print. I want them to feel something every time they look at a Brooke Miles print. I can’t tell them what to feel, but I want them to feel something!

Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations for Above and Below Gallery as an artist and a business owner?

As an artist, I want to create more images and collections. I love the feeling of releasing new work regularly. As a business owner, I see the gallery growing beyond North Queensland. I would love to partner with a gallery or investor overseas and expand the brand’s reach internationally. I would also love to exhibit other artists’ works and give them exposure.

Our readers love to travel. What destination is at the top of your bucket list?

My bucket list is long! I would love to spend some time at Wakatobi in Indonesia and photograph schooling hammerheads in Japan.

What’s your go-to quote when you lack motivation?

Someone once told me, “You can do it all, just not all at once,” which is good to remember when I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the things I want to do in my business.

Where can people follow you and find out more?

Online at, where you can shop and sign up for the newsletter. Or on socials @aboveandbelowgallery.

Dive deeper into inspiring journeys and creative adventures by exploring more stories on House of Coco.


Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

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