Fiona Lake - Professional Photographer & Writer
I began photographing life on the largest cattle stations on the planet when I had the good fortune to start working on one, in 1984. Though I grew up on a farm I knew nothing about these remote northern Australian cattle stations. And it was apparent that very few other people did either. So I started recording this overlooked yet significant part of our culture, and explaining the life to people living elsewhere.
Little did I realise then, that it would turn into a life-long labour of love. I have many interests but find these huge cattle stations just as fascinating and inspiring now as the day I started.
Unique books featuring Australian outback cattle stations:
The three books I've published to date contain more than 800 of my very best photographs taken on nearly 60 outback cattle stations. Thousands of copies of 'A Million Acre Masterpiece', 'Life as an Australian Horseman' and 'Biggest Mobs - Longest Shadows' have been sent around the world. I can personally sign copies for you. The Book Contents page contains some images and detailed information, you can read comments from readers on the 'Testimonials' page, and your books can be ordered here. I love hearing other people's stories so please don't forget to tell me a bit about your story when you order, if you would like to.
Some of the photographs in the books can be seen in the website header (above); and the cover of the latest book is below:
Other items - from art & cards to workshops & overseas farm tours:
In order to be able to continue advocating for rural and remote regions I also produce exhibition-quality framed art, greeting cards and other gift items, magazine and newspaper features, and sell the use of images for editorial & advertising purposes. I undertake commission work, run workshops on rural photography and a plethora of related topics, and lead rural tour groups. Voluntary activities include setting up, running & judging rural photography competitions & advising organisers on best-practice; public speaking engagements; assisting rural residents on social media and promoting rural events.
Career highlights to date include: being one of the few artists to have had an exhibition opened by the Governor General of Australia; a feature story on ABC Television's 'Landline' programme and being the first Australian appointed to the panel judging the International Federation of Agricultural Journalist's 'Star Prize for Photography' award (with entries from more than 30 countries). This year I was an RIRDC 'Rural Women's Award' finalist, and my photograph called 'Biggest Mobs - Longest Shadows' was a HeadOn Photo Festival finalist (& featured in the Weekend Australian magazine).
- 2017 "Paddock to Plate" tour around the UK & Ireland. Preliminary information is included in this blog post. I never do anything by halves and I'm jumping out of my skin looking forward to leading this tour, as I know what a fantastic time we're set to have. There's already a raft of interesting locals champing at the bit to come and have dinner with us, as we move around the country, visiting great agricultural shows and farms. Plus one-on-one photography assistance for anyone who would like help, en route. This will be a uniquely personal, entertaining and useful agricultural tour; not just a tourist waft around. Please contact me if you'd like more details.
- Photography/storytelling workshops - are available again! Practical advice drawn from several decades of first-hand experience taking rural photographs across Australia and overseas. Answering queries and solving any problems you have - interwoven with inspiring stories about some adventures over the years, and aspects other workshop presenters don't cover. Suitable for advanced and new photographers. Groups in regional & remote Australia can apply for RADF grants to help fund workshops. These workshops give participants the skills to advance what they create, provoke thought about things formerly overlooked, and the inspiration to act. Contact me if you'd like more information.
Visit 'testimonials' to see some of the many comments from book purchasers in Australia and other countries.
This website dates back to 2003:
...when few rural businesses had websites and rural blogs were exceedingly scarce. So it's a venerable antique, in online terms - and it's a behemoth, with a truckload of information squirrelled away. Please use the sitemap and view the blog categories if you are having trouble locating a specific topic, because the website and blog now run to more than 400 pages on living, working and visiting the Australian outback - as well as comments on topical issues. Plus one of my favourite sections that was created after many weeks of work - translations for agricultural words and expressions in other languages.
Australia's largest cattle stations - in summary:
These vast outback stations (ranches) are spread right across the top half of the Australian continent - a sparsely settled remote region measuring more than 3,000km north to south and more than 3,500km from east to west.
Quite a few Australian cattle stations are more than 10,000 square kilometres (3,860 square miles) in size and run more than 20,000 cattle in average seasons. Several now run more than 100,000 cattle. Yet most stations still rely on stockhorses for walking mobs and on many, stockcamps are still usual for at least part of the year.
Many of the scenes and activities that I have photographed over more than thirty years no longer exist. When I began, digital photography and social media did not exist. People in remote areas would have laughed if you told them one day they'd have television and internet services provided by satellite. I have seen a lot of changes and what I do is unique - worldwide.
Social Media Accounts:
I use Twitter and LinkedIn most often, but I also have a Facebook page and an Instagram account. And I have a Twitter account to promote global agricultural events, grants/awards, education etc: @agri_events. Further information on my social media accounts is on this blog page.
Sometimes, I'm roaming around the countryside:
- As this is a one-person business you receive personal service - but the office is closed when I'm travelling.
- This blog page lists the dates when the office will be closed and events I am attending.
- Don't hesitate to contact me (details below) if you have any queries regarding my outback books, cattle station photos, Australian greeting cards; commission work, photography workshops or farm tours.
You may like to add this website to your list of favourites to make revisiting easier.