How Ruby's Pa lives on in her photos

Leading livestock photographer Ruby Canning shares her favourite photos

Beef
Having established Mavstar Simmentals with her younger brother, Jacob, in 2001, Ruby Canning made her mark in the judging ring of national shows and the eye for cattle proved valuable when she created Mavstar Photography in 2014.

Having established Mavstar Simmentals with her younger brother, Jacob, in 2001, Ruby Canning made her mark in the judging ring of national shows and the eye for cattle proved valuable when she created Mavstar Photography in 2014.

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Ruby realised just how important it was to capture little moments as a memory.

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When Ruby Canning's beloved Pa became ill when she was just 12 and later passed away, she realised life was precious and just how important it was to capture little moments as a memory.

What started as a renewed focus to photograph everyday life on her family's beef cattle property and her little brother growing up quickly flowed into a flair for livestock photography.

"My type of work was the type that captured the moment, quite different to the photography that dominated the show scene at that time," she said.

"I wanted to be different; I wanted to capture a moment that reminds someone of an emotion, rather than just a win."

Ruby grew up in a household full of cameras, including her Dad's old Nikon Film camera, but it was when she turned 13 that her parents gifted her a Canon Powershot camera of her own.

Having established Mavstar Simmentals with her younger brother, Jacob, in 2001, Ruby made her mark in the judging ring of national shows and the eye for cattle proved valuable when she created Mavstar Photography in 2014.

"Growing up with cattle, showing and judging them I understood what a good animal looked like, and how important it was to show their best traits," she said.

"Some of my first work was to take photos for breed societies at shows, these were later used in the annual magazines for marketing."

She has since gone on to work for Emily H Photography and captured images at Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney Royals Shows along with working for the Stock and Land at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show.

Ruby has also learnt from some of the best in the industry, spending time with Heidi Anderson from Legacy Livestock Imaging, Emma Cross from Emma Jane Industry, and Sarah Buchanan from Golden Thread Livestock Images in Canada.

As a seedstock producer and beef cattle breeder herself, Ruby knows first hand the perspective of both a potential buyer and a proud breeder.

While she loves capturing candid photos, Ruby believes a good standup photo is just as important.

"They show important aspects in the animal which buyers look at when making purchasing decisions such as structure, confirmation, and frame size," she said.

"A picture can tell a thousand words, and when looking at sale catalogues especially I am always drawn to the photos first, as that is how I will get my first impression of the stock if I haven't seen them before, and before I look at their figures."

When taking standup photos Ruby said patience with both the stock and owners/paraders was important.

"They have taken their time to get their livestock to the show, and often these photos are used for marketing of the animal and it's important to get it right," she said.

"But also to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone around too. Being polite and patient with people and being approachable doesn't cost anything, and I think those traits are super important."

Despite the difficult conditions across many regions of Australia, Ruby said there was always something to be valued on the farm and an appreciation of the lifestyle that contributes to feeding the globe.

"And that is what I love the most about photography," she said.

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