Photographer Claudia Caporn celebrates female farmers and women in agriculture with ‘educational’ portrait series

Glading Marteen 

Western Australian photographer Claudia Caporn says the stereotype of a farmer in Australia is a “young, fit, male” — and it’s something she wants to change.

Growing up in the Wheatbelt region, she has been surrounded by female farmers all her life.

Presently travelling around Western Australia, Ms Caporn hopes to use her photography to change the face of agriculture.

“I’m just continuing to travel around with my camera, trying to get a picture of women that is authentic and real, and sort of challenges the idea of the Aussie farmer being a healthy, young, fit male in an Akubra hat,” Ms Caporn said.

Claudias mother lisa stands in front of firewood with an axe in hand wearing pink pajamas
Claudia photographed her mother Lisa on the family farm, to feature in the series.(Supplied: Claudia Caporn)

During a recent visit to the Great Southern region, she attended the Denmark Agricultural School to take photos of the female students.

Farm manager at the school, Kevin Marshall, said there were always women working in agriculture, but it wasn’t always on display.

“They’re on their family farms, and that progression or succession planning is happening, we just don’t see a lot of it,” he said.

A pregnant farmer stands in a sheep pen with sheep surrounding her
Claudia hopes the collection will break down stereotypes, and highlight the manual labour women do on farms.(Supplied: Claudia Caporn)

Claudia is hoping her photographs will increase the representation of women in the industry.

After receiving the Minderoo artist fund grant last year, the 25-year-old is developing a series titled Women of the Land.

“It’s a series of photographic portraits… I wanted to use my photography to be able to critique sort of the masculine stereotypes within the industry,” she said.

“I [also] wanted to use this series as an educational tool for people who live in the city who are, by no fault of their own, more disconnected from the realities of farming and agriculture which is something we all rely on.”

woman stands in grey jumper and black beanie in a field with a tractor in the background
The series, which is still being created, is titled Women of the Land.(Supplied: Claudia Caporn)

Growing up in Quairading in the Wheatbelt region, Ms Caporn wanted to highlight women in agriculture after being surrounded by female farmers all her life.

“Being rural I was able to use my photography to show a different reality than to a lot of other people, and I thought that I could use the camera to try and do some good,” Ms Caporn said.

Claudia stands smiling looking at the camera with an old fashioned camera on a tripod beside her
Ms Caporn wants to change the public perception of what a typical farmer looks like.(ABC Great Southern: Olicia Di Iorio)

After visiting the Wheatbelt, Esperance, Grass Patch, and the Great Southern, Ms Caporn will travel to the Pilbara to meet women working on cattle stations.

“It’s been really great to meet lots of younger women in their 20s and 30s who are really pushing the boundaries and really owning being a farmer or agricultural worker in their own right,” she said.

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