An award-winning photographer whose first book features the landmarks of America says, “Australia is lacking its own icons and the tourism industry may be the loser.”

Launching his first photographic book ,Across America, Paul Velissaris believes it would be much more challenging to present an equivalent collection of Australian icons.

“Is Australia’s tourism suffering as a result of so few historical, cultural or commercial icons?” he asked rhetorically.

Velissaris took leave from his business, Velissaris Photography, to travel through the USA during the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.

He was amazed by the number of iconic sites, buildings and locations he photographed. “There were more icons in each American city than Australia has as a whole, “ he said.

Velissaris expressed his sadness that Australia has so few comparable icons.

“Of course we have spectacular natural landmarks but our historical and dare I say commercial icons are seriously lacking.” In comparison Velissaris found that, “the images documented in Across America showcase the spirit of the land of the ‘stars and stripes’. It was very humbling to be in the presence of such majestic icons, as the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, Lincoln Memorial and Capitol Hill – just to name a few!”

Velissaris said he would like to do something similar for Australia.

“My hope for this book, is that it can give me an introduction into Australian Tourism with the idea of creating picture icons, that capture the true soul of our country, with the enticement for tourists to experience the wonder that is Australia.”