OUT THE BACK 35mm & 120mm film

Stretched out wild and free 11 hours west of the eastern shore line, away from the cities abundance of cars, crowds and convenience the unbelievable stillness of the afternoon is visually interrupted by colour and dust swarming from the backside of a Toyota Hilux. A red cloud flares over the smudgy white cliffs that is the land of the Barkindji Tribe. 

Here the fly’s land heavy on lips, colours demand your attention, the dust terrorises nostrils and the burren scrub sits pretty in texture. 

Welcome to White Cliffs, it’s a small town you have never heard of or it’s a centre of vast dry vitality and beauty that is the Australian Outback. Here in July, you will catch the two-day event of a true Aussie bush gymkhana and rodeo. 

Born, I was given a unique gift. My sense of belonging comes from 4 generations on the land in the Central West of NSW. Since my adult hood of 15 years has been in the city for my craft in hairdressing. I have always craved to be in tune with the land and it’s surroundings.

I never thought of myself to have an addictive personality but I’ve come to realise without hesitation I gamble my life on the Australian highways in search of events and environments that bring me closer to the unique and moving insight of the little known aspects of the contemporary Australian life in the bush.   

Travelling alone gave me a sense of being tough, a hard days work on the land simply because I had to be strong to handle the loneliness. A gathered sense of the real isolation that folk in the outback have in which they hope and cope.  Alone I was too, extremely vulnerable.  An inexperienced camper pulling up for the night in truck stops, vacant national parks to sleep.  I didn’t travel this hard far and alone to simply drink a beer at my destination. By doing this alone my state of mind was pushed and I pushed harder to get the perfect photograph to relieve the slow release of adrenaline that’s ridden with me for days.

White Cliffs rodeo was an exhibition of warm helpful community spirit. Young adult families banded together to roster gymkhana events one after the other. From a viewing point it seemed calm and effortless even through to the late night drink induce game of tug a war.  I recall the air being cold at night but the warmth of the small crowd gathered under a tin community shed to auction off items in support of the royal flying doctors had an ambient circle of warmth and left my cheeks burning from my constant smile and laughter from the banter, performance of the auctioneer and his support team.
The Cowboys, in the morning they dashed water over their heads and faces, slapping handfuls onto their eyelids- gummed aching eyes still twitching from last night’s drink. By the end of the rodeo you could sense they could care less for the 8 seconds it was expected to ride an animal that had been terrorised by belts and spurs and more for a sip of firewater to be thankful they survived the ride.

The Cowgirls, maybe they do - maybe they don’t feel the lack of female companionship in the outback regardless there is a true exhibition of female liberation that had given them full rein to the boisterous, tomboy side of their personalities. Here girls were riding young bucking steers taking kicks to the guts as they fall and swallowing their pride just well as the boys when they failed the time. 

Once the rodeo has come to an end. I feel my breath and take note of the veins of sweat that has drenched my shirt. I look up and towards the horizon, beyond the dozing horses tied to their floats. I blow the dust off my lens; load my stiff joints into my fathers land cruiser and travel east, avoiding with the wild goats towards the cities moans and groans.