I grew up with my three sisters on a farm in the Great Southern and after I dropped out of university I went home to the family farm and farmed with my father for six years. I learnt a lot about machinery and enjoyed driving the tractor and the harvester. I remember we had one very dry year when I spent a lot of time in the old International truck carting water for livestock. I had my own sheep dog, and we spent hours droving sheep and working in the sheep yards. At shearing time I would roustabout until I got my owner-classer certificate and then I could class the wool.
Eventually the farm was sold and I moved to a tourist town where I worked at an art gallery for a short time before I met my husband and moved to his farm. It was strange becoming a farmer’s wife instead of a farmer. I still help out on the farm but my main focus for the last sixteen years has been my children, and now my photography business.
As Anita Jean Photography I had been photographing farming families for several years as part of my family portrait business when I realised that I wanted to document more than just the people on the farm. When my friend’s family made the tough decision to sell their farm I went and photographed the farm to make a farm album for the family before they left. Then I decided our own family should have one. And I wished that I had something similar to show my kids so they could see what I did on the farm with their grandfather before I was married. We have a bit of old video footage somewhere, but not an album of photos that tells the whole story.
And hey, why shouldn’t every family family have an album with photos that tell their farming story?