‘It Runs in the Family’

Robert Irwin

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 a 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.”

RELATED: Robert Irwin Hopes to Keep Late Father Steve Irwin’s Legacy Alive by Living ‘Every Day to the Fullest’

Steve Irwin, Robert Irwin

Steve Irwin, Robert Irwin

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

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 to do this justice and make something that really celebrates what has become my own individual way to carry on my father’s legacy.”

RELATED: Irwin Family Opens Crocodile Hunter Lodge in Honor of Late Conservationist: ‘Dad Would Be So Proud’

Robert added 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.”

Robert Irwin

Robert 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 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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