Over and out, Rach

The Land photographer Rachael Webb hangs up her camera

Life & Style
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The Land's photographer Rachael Webb, who hangs up her camera after six years, shares some of the things that have stood out to her during her travels.

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Rachael Webb when she started as a photographer at The Land.

Rachael Webb when she started as a photographer at The Land.

I grew up reading The Land, well let's be honest I used to look at the pictures but the rest of my family read the paper.

I can still remember photos taken by former The Land photographer for 35 years Michael 'the Frenchman' Petey and some years later I had the fortunate experience in becoming his offsider.

Now after six years of travelling the countryside helping my colleagues 'tell the stories that need to be told', visiting different farms taking photos of farmers and their families with livestock, crops, machinery and an assortment of dogs, I will be departing the paper.

It has left me thinking about all the time spent with farmers and the lessons they've taught me. I've clearly taken on board all these lessons because everywhere I go I'm paid the ultimate compliment - I'm mistaken for a farmer.

Lessons I've learned from out state's farmers

Have a sense of humour and never underestimate the benefits that come from making someone laugh. As a photographer I am meant to make people laugh, however, I feel it has been the other way around, farmers have cracked me up.

I'm still chuckling away with the story of an overseas vet having a stint in the central west. One of his first clients, a local farmer in Akubra and stubby shorts, walks in and lumps his kelpie dog on the bench saying he's "gone off his tucker".

The puzzled vet not having grown up in Australia and not understanding what 'gone off his tucker' means, tries to employ other ways to work out what is wrong with the kelpie. He asks the farmer if there's any other symptoms he's noticed. Farmer responds with: "nah, he's just gone off his tucker", leaving the puzzled vet to consult other vets and management to work out what the farmer is talking about.

Have a go

Like the three young tradies near Leeton that decided over a couple of beers one evening to start up a turf business as a side hustle.

Humility

The Brownhill Cup, one of the most prestigious awards targeting the best farmers, looks at what they do to 'improve sustainability, productivity and profitability in agriculture', which is announced during the Gunnedah Agquip field days.

Every year the winner credits their win not to themselves but to the people around them that have helped them get to where they are today, their family, neighbours, fellow farmers, agronomists and other consultants.

Also I've learned to be ready to grab hold of an opportunity when it presents itself, like a drop of rain at the right time.

Smile in the face of adversity

Many of our western farmers are clocking up seven years of drought in the current ongoing and unprecedented dry and yet they continue to welcome me with a smile on their face and tell me that you've 'gotta just pull your jeans up and get on with it'.

Many of our western farmers are clocking up seven years of drought in the current ongoing and unprecedented dry and yet they continue to welcome me with a smile on their face and tell me that you've 'gotta just pull your jeans up and get on with it'.

You can be neighbours, mates and competitors all at the same time. They are masters of innovation, they will trial something new then modify, modify and modify until it suits their needs. They have a need to see the whole industry moving ahead not just their own business.

And don't forget...

There's two types of music genres; country music and ACDC. And any bloke driving a ute is automatically good looking. If he's driving a V8 then it's off-the-charts-good looking.

As I bid farewell, I would like to say thank you to the farmers for your hospitality, the generosity of your time to drive me around a few paddocks for photos, to share a few jokes and teach me about what you do and why. You are the reason why I loved my job.

You always asked me to come back and take photos when the season turns around and I hope to be reading those stories in the near future.

This is Rach and her camera, over and out.

  • This is the first installment for The Land's journalists year in review, which will appear in the January 2 edition.
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