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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
A lot of the men she has met say they don’t know why there’s such a male stereotype.
“The men have been super supportive as well, they 100 per cent agree that women are vital and do so much important work – heavy, hard, manual labour, it’s not just running the business from the house,” she said.
“I didn’t want this series to take away from the fact that men do work, it’s just trying to bring awareness that women also do this work.”
Posted , updated