Big screen connects bush to city’s heart
Not many farmers would have ever seen their name in lights, and even fewer would have seen a billboard-sized picture of themselves in one of Perth’s busiest spots.
But their photographic nature and the interesting stories farmers’ pictures tell has earned them a spot on a giant, 30.5m-wide, 14m-tall screen at Perth’s Yagan Square.
Pictures of shearers, farmers, wool classers, and even a kelpie from Darkan have been on rotation on the circular screen which hugs the 45m tall tower since February.
Many of the photographs were captured by Moodiarrup photographer Astrid Volzke, who is on a mission to document life in country WA and bring communities closer together.
Part of her mission included approaching ScreenWest, which manages Yagan Square Digital Tower, and asking them to display her and workshop participants’ images.
Volzke now has three exhibitions on display at Yagan Square Digital Power, coined “In the Shed”, “Push ’em Up”, and “Fine Wool”, and has helped to co-ordinate a fourth.
With Australia’s agriculture industry facing intense scrutiny, Volzke said she believed the photographs were making a difference.
“The motivation for this is to bring rural community together, both in person and online, to connect communities, to share rural stories in the heart of the city and to connect rural community internationally,” she said.
“This is a fantastic outcome for the rural community, sharing rural imagery in the heart of the city is needed more than ever.”
“In the Shed” captures life in shearing sheds at West Arthur, with photographs of wool classers, shearers and sheep captured mid-shearing in November.
“Push ’em Up” was created during a day spent with Darkan sheep farmer Karyn Buller and her faithful kelpies, documenting a morning penning sheep.
“Fine Wool” shines a spotlight on one of Darkan’s most well-known stud masters, Rangeview stud owner John King, as he walks through the farm shed in January.
Mr King said he agreed to the photo shoot to show the beauty of WA’s vibrant wool industry.
“I think it is very important to show people, a lot of people have never been out of the city,” he said.
“They might buy a woollen garment but they might not know how it is produced.”
Ms Buller said she was elated to see her image on the big screen and supported the idea of “bringing the country to the city”.
“I just think it is a great way to show city people the reality of being on the farm,” she said.
The fourth exhibition, “From the Locals”, features 10 photographs captured by residents from Hopetoun and Broome.
Volzke hand-picked the images after holding a photography workshop, called Our PhotoStories, in the towns last year.
The workshops taught community members how to take better photographs and tell their stories using images and sounds.
Their photo story might have focused on a person, a place or an event — anything that provided an insight into life in the country.
This year, Volzke has set her sights on a project called Window to the Wheatbelt, allowing photographers to showcase four seasons at Kondinin, Wyalkatchem, Quairading, Dumbleyung, Southern Cross and Dandaragan.
While it doesn’t have funding yet, Volzke hopes to kick off the project in July.
While it was a bit daunting, it was also a “little bit flattering” for Mr King to see his picture on display at Yagan Square.
“It is a little bit embarrassing ... but I have had a lot of good comments from people who have seen it online or in the city,” he said.
“Astrid is very keen on promoting our country to the city, and she has done a marvellous job of it.”
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