Every time Mitchell Burns pulled on his high-vis shirt and headed underground for a gruelling 12-hour shift in the mines something inside him died.
Mitchell spent his teenage years in Blackwater, a coal mining town in central Queensland. He never wanted to be a miner, but there wasn’t much to do after school – and the money was good.
For 10 long years he worked in the mines, until one day he realised he had to get out for his own sanity, if nothing else.
Mitchell Burns worked in the mines for 10 years before quitting to become the ‘most well known photographer of his generation’
‘There were times where I would cry at night or even on the bus ride to work,’ he told FEMAIL.
He punched out for the last time in May.
Now he travels Australia with his camera in hand, looking for the ‘perfect’ shot. His bank balance is a lot leaner, but he’s never been happier.
The 29-year-old, who started becoming interested in photography when he was a teenager, wants to be the most well-known landscape photographer of his generation.
‘I don’t need to be the best photographer in the world, I just want people to think of me and consider my work when they need something for their home.
‘The more eyes on me the better,’ he laughed from his family home in Mareeba, near Cairns.
Mitchell admitted he would cry at night and had become depressed with his life before abandoning his mining career
Now he is energetic and excited for every day – despite being financially stretched
And he definitely knows how to capture people’s attention with his social media exploding ever since he start actively working on it.
He now has 385,000 followers on Instagram, and over 1.2million likes on TikTok.
Last year, Mitchell’s following mostly consisted of family, friends and acquaintances.
‘Most photographers won’t get in front of the camera, so I decided to do some behind the scenes videos on TikTok and it worked,’ he said.
‘I have fine-tuned it a bit, because it is more about entertainment for the people rather than content for photographers.
Michell’s favourite photo showing Craig’s Hut in the Victorian Alps after unseasonal summer snow
He adventured down the east coast where he enjoyed taking photos of different landscapes
His ‘natural habitat’ is in North Queensland’s rainforests
‘It is super exciting to see the growth and see how many people want to be here watching my story unfold.’
Mitchell said he feels like a new person since leaving the mines last year.
‘It’s like chalk and cheese, I used to dread going back and had low energy all of the time,’ he said.
He started his ‘retirement’ from the mines with a holiday – heading down the east coast, taking photos and ‘helping a mate with some jobs’.
Then he hit Victoria, where he stayed much longer than planned after meeting his girlfriend and ‘falling in love’.
The extended stay in Victoria meant he had more time to shoot some local scenery – which is obviously much different to the landscapes he was used to in North Queensland.
One of the photographs he captured after a November snowstorm in the Victorian alps is his favourite.
‘It was actually a dream shot, a bucket list shot,’ he said.
The shot is of famous Craig’s Hut, which is usually impossible to access when there’s been snow. But because it was a freak weather event, Mitchell knew he would be able to access the iconic spot.
‘I had wanted the shot for so long, I had a vision of it in my head. I kept my eye on the weather, so I knew as soon as there had been some summer snow,’ he said.
He reached the hut after three days of hiking.
‘On my last sunrise up there the cloud opened up a little bit and gave me some beautiful light,’ Mitchell said.
He spends his days finding ‘the perfect shot and the perfect light’
His followers appear to enjoy his hard-earned photos but it’s the videos, which feature Mitchell in his tight khaki bushman’s uniform that gets them talking – as well as his cheeky wit and love of the Australian bush.
One of his most popular videos shows him holding his camera gear above his head as he crosses a river wearing a tight shirt that highlights his muscles.
‘This very alluring water hole is at a place called Babinda Boulders about an hour south of Cairns. The boulders have a dark history where 19 people have lost there life here due to under currents and getting trapped underwater. Lucky this part of the river is safe so I was able to cross the water to get to where I needed to be,’ he wrote alongside the clip.
And his fans lost their minds.
‘This video is not about photography. And I am not complaining,’ said another woman, calling him out.
He plans to feature in a television series about photography – and hopes it will take him around Australia
‘Even those rocks be questioning their sexual preferences,’ said one woman.
A third said they had ‘never wanted to be a backpack’ before seeing the video but are contemplating it now.
Some people gave him tips: ‘Your shirt was adding unnecessary weight when wet. Highly recommend removing it next time.’
Mitchell said he has been shocked by the amount of sexualised comments.
‘My inbox is full, it is actually pretty overwhelming, but I barely have a chance to look at them,’ he said of the ‘thirsty’ comments and messages he receives.
Though some of his content looks to be aimed at that demographic – especially one where he ‘milked’ a plant in the wilderness before using its juice as gel in his hair.
‘He knows exactly what he id doing,’ one person wrote.
‘His gay following just went up 800 per cent,’ said another.
‘I am highly confused about what I’m feeling about this video but I’m here for it,’ said one woman.
Others joked they ‘sprained ankles’ getting to the comment section.
Mitchell is currently in the US and plans to film his own television show in the coming year.
He will allow film crews to follow him around Australia, where he will try to take photographs at some of his dream locations including isolated areas in the Kimberley’s.
He says his family were thrilled when he decided to chase his dream because they could see how unhappy he was.
Mitchell wants to help other people build up he courage to follow their dreams too, because being financially stretched is better than having your soul crushed.
‘Sales are slow but I have never been happier, this is how I want to be spending my life,’ he said.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk