Robert Irwin Says Dad Steve Helped Inspire His Australia Photography Book: 'It Runs in the Family'

The Crikey! It's the Irwins star's new photography book Robert Irwin's Australia showcases the country's natural splendor and the effects of climate change

robret irwin
Photo: Kate Berry / Australia Zoo

Robert Irwin is carrying on his father Steve's legacy in a meaningful new way.

The Crikey! It's the Irwins star, 18, has released the new photography book Robert Irwin's Australia to showcase his home country's natural splendor and powerful images that show the effects of climate change. Also in the book are several never-before-seen personal pictures, including one of Steve introducing Robert to a professional camera for the first time.

"My dad was a very, very passionate photographer," says Robert. "It sort of runs in the family. He was equally enthusiastic behind the lens as in front of it. And it's just always kind of been there and been part of my life."

Steve Irwin, Robert Irwin
Steve Irwin (left) and Robert Irwin. Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Marc Grimwade/WireImage

Five years ago, Robert began working on the book, though he says the idea of it has been around a lot longer.

"It was always something that was kind of simmering in the background. Then I thought, you know what? I want do this justice and make something that really celebrates what has become my own individual way to carry on my father's legacy."

Robert adds that he wanted to make his first book focused on Australia. "It's the ultimate celebration of this country," he shares — though his ultimate plan is to expand to photography books around the world.

"I've been lucky that I've gotten to photograph just about every corner of the planet," he says. "So this is the start of what will hopefully end up being a series."

robret irwin
Kate Berry / Australia Zoo

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While Robert was just 2 years old when his Crocodile Hunter father died in 2006, his memory and legacy live on.

"What dad really instilled in me — because I was very young when when he passed away, but he was there so much of my early years — [was that] he was so passionate about being there for myself and my sister all the time. He was the most devoted dad," he tells PEOPLE. "I think that passion that he had and just that absolute zest for life is just my foundation. I like to say it's a factory setting for me."

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