The Paddock Change
A cloud of dust in drought,
a spray of water in flood,
the smell of fresh sheep manure,
and the screams of a schoolboy and a toddler fighting on the farmhouse verandah.
Thankfully my husband is on my team when it comes to the challenges of living in the bush.
I’m Belinda, a qualified and registered Architect with 20 or so years of experience. 6 years ago, my husband and I decided to leave the big smoke and return to his hometown of Warren in Central West NSW to join the family farming business. Born and bred in Sydney, little did I know country life would turn out the way it has. Planning for a family, we couldn’t think of a better environment to raise our kids and start my business.
We settled in Dubbo whilst the living situation was being decided. My visits to the property were fascinating. I remember travelling for kilometers on the open road. I noticed the little things, drivers from passing cars lifting a finger above the steering wheel, kangaroo carcasses in the table drains, the smell of dust and manure. The scenery was what captured my attention the most. I had dabbled in photography in Sydney and with some encouragement from the spectacular scenery, I decided it was time to purchase a DSLR camera and take a short photography course.
I found peace and connection in shooting landscapes. Storms, fog, sunsets and wildlife, Mother nature always provided with incredible stories to tell through the lens.
I was given the amazing opportunity to take photos of town events through my local council which included the local rodeo, triathlon or campdraft. It allowed me to capture action and movement and the sense of small town community. At our property, shearing and livestock yard work allowed me to convey the passion and energy of the farmer. There was just something about the grit and the dust that excited me.
Not long after we relocated, the drought had begun. What a way to start our lives out here I thought. I documented many days of the 3 year drought on our property. I even held a town photo competition to allow the people of Warren to tell their story of the drought. With over 300 entries, it was a hit and it told an incredibly diverse story of how people experienced the drought.
These were all moments in history, a story we could tell our grandkids one day by just showing them a photo. A photo that described the dedication and loyalty a farmer has for the land and for their livestock, even through the toughest times. A natural disaster that we fought hard in and overcame with determination and positivity, like many of our fellow farmers. Our now green pastures illustrate our triumph over that dreadful drought. We are now ready for what follows, which is usually flood.
Life in the bush was the perfect place to grow my photography skills. I came to realise the true aim of my photography. The impact of telling a story was much greater than just taking pretty pictures that look nice on a wall. They had to be honest. Not all photos had to be happy, pretty or colourful to tell that story. The lens doesn’t lie and why would I want it too.
My photography passion is still in landscapes and events. Whilst I have been selling prints, I also plan to eventually delve into something different. What that is, I’m not sure yet. I feel the land may tell me when it’s the right time. There is so much to learn about rural architecture, rural photography and life in the bush.