The photographer who dances with bulls

Leading livestock photographer Ben Simpson shares his favourite photos


Ben Simpson can see things in a whole new light.


Have you ever seen a bull dance?

If you've got a paddock of stud sires, chances are you have. But it isn't until you look behind the lens of Ben Simpson's camera that you truly notice the ballroom spectacular taking place.

Dancing with Bulls is one of the many moments captured by this globally recognised photographer that the average human would probably fail to see.

When Ben was encouraged by a mate to buy his first Pentax camera while living in America, little did he know it would shape the rest of his life.

From the moment he picked up the camera, Ben has communicated visually ever since.

OGA Creative Agency managing director Ben Simpson with Mandayen Limousin stud principal Damian Gommers. File photo.

OGA Creative Agency managing director Ben Simpson with Mandayen Limousin stud principal Damian Gommers. File photo.

His start in livestock work came during the 90s when he was involved in a large live animal, semen and embryo export venture.

As a result, he needed to capture images to promote the paddock to plate concept they had created.

Fast forward to today and alongside his wife, Julia, the pair own OGA Creative, employing 12 full time staff to serve more than 300 clients in Australia and New Zealand.

"The key has been being able to communicate visually through image, film and digital, distributing these stories electronically," Ben said.

"I feel very lucky to have started this all with a camera and a great wife."

Ben is know stranger to a strong stand up shot, but he attracted global attention in recent years with images capturing the many behaviours of animals, big and small.

Dancing with Bulls is among them but more recent favourite is Naughts and Crosses, capturing he harmony between man and a mob of sheep from a different perspective.

"I've been lucky enough to have been involved in many significant moments over the last 20 years from high priced bulls to surviving the drought," Ben said.

"We sometimes cry but always laugh and maybe a whiskey or two at the end of the day has made the last 20 years very rewarding.

"Connecting with people and telling their stories is a great honour and I hope we are still doing it in another 20 years in some form."

Ben's images reflect real moments. He isn't afraid to call a spade a spade and his images reflect that.

"Many of our clients spend around two years growing their product and put them on offer for around one hour on a particular day of the year," he said.

"The importance of capturing livestock at their best is essential to their economic viability and we do everything to make this happen."

A livestock shoot with Ben isn't just about the animal; people and the environment are just as important.

He said it was important to select the correct environment and have people with good livestock psychology skills.


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