By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Newcomer to the D-SLR category, Panasonic Australia, which launched the Lumix DMC-L1 digital SLR camera last week, has signed on as the principal financial sponsor of a UNESCO photography project to document world heritage listed sites around the globe.

Panasonic is supplying Lumix compact digital still cameras and its high-end models including the new FZ50 and the new L1 D-SLR to an army of photographers enlisted for the project, who are taking part in the ‘Our Place’ project to document 830 sites recognised for their cultural significance and natural beauty.

“The goal is to make sites and the extraordinary human stories linked to them better known to all,” said UNESCO world heritage centre director, Francesco Bandarin.

“Increased awareness, knowledge and appreciation will also lead to better protection for these remarkable places, many of which are extremely fragile.”

Panasonic Australia invited New Zealand photographer and Our Place director, Geoff Steven, to its Sydney Lumix launch last week, who spoke of the project and displayed images captured on a variety of Lumix cameras from the early phases of the project.

Steven said he is looking forward to “photographing some of the planet’s most important cultural and natural sites and helping promote the World Heritage message about the universal significance these sites represent”.

While the 7.5 megapixel Lumix L1 will be used primarily, Stevens spoke of using other Lumix models in the project, including the new DMC-LX2 for 10.2 megapixel full resolution widescreen 16:9 images.

The Our Place photographs will be published in a series of 10 books, which wll be launched at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. A website and television programs will also be created promoting the Our Place project.