Finding beauty amongst the drought

Host: Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association
Written by Lindy Hick

Save the date for the 2018 Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association Federal Conference to be held in Canberra, August 1-2. This promises to be a great conference! Find all information at this link:  #ICPAconf18

“Photography is a love affair with life.” Buzz Uzzle.

My name is Lindy Hick, wife of Tony and Mum to Jack (7), Hugh (6) and Francesca (2). We live on Antrim Station, a 48,000 acre, organically certified cattle property, 100 km South of Hughenden in Queensland that ‘normally’ runs about 2500 head.

I grew up on a cattle station near Greenvale in North Queensland and completed my schooling via School of the Air through Charters Towers School of Distance Education. I later attended boarding school in Charters Towers and then went on to university to complete my teaching degree at JCU in Townsville. My husband and I moved here to Antrim Station, one of the Hick family properties at the beginning of 2010.

My two older children attend a small school on a station 30km from here, named Cameron Downs State School, which was founded 50 years ago. It has been down to 3 students fairly recently, but due to an influx of young families in the area now has 12 kids, from kindy through to year 6 in attendance. It is a state run Education Queensland school with a teaching principal, a second teacher for 2 days a week, a school chaplain one day a week, and 2 permanent teacher aides. I have watched my two boys flourish in this beautiful little environment over the past few years and cannot believe, just how lucky we are to live where we live and for our children to have the opportunities they do.

I can’t actually remember when I first became interested in photography. I just remember always having a camera and taking photos. We had some family portraits done when I was about 15 and I asked the photographer for advice on what course to take to better learn the art. His advise to me was to not take a course, but to take photos, look at your settings, write down what works and go from there. I listened to this, and to this day, for better or worse, am still 100% self taught.

Photography has always been good to me. Through the hardest times it has forced me to look for the better perspective. To find beauty amidst the despair, appreciate and celebrate it. It’s just plain good for the soul.

My favourite things to capture are of course my kids. It would seem I have managed to burn my two sons out, as every time I approach them with camera in hand, they run for the hills. I have found, getting a photo of them always brings out their entrepreneurialskills, usually costing me $5 and a can of soft drink. My daughter who is just shy of 2, hasn’t got to that stage yet, so most people who follow my business page probably think I only have one child or that Frankie is the favourite, because she is who I manage to get the majority of my photos of nowadays.

I decided about 18 months ago, that I would throw myself in the deep end and have a go at making a business out of photography. We were on our 5th year straight of drought and had all but completely de-stocked. Antrim could no longer justify paying us a wage. We had to go to plan B.

In a conversation with our financial advisor he stated the obvious, we needed to think about what other skills we’ve got, utilise them and find an off farm income. Luckily we were talking over the phone so he couldn’t see the blank looks, the head scratching and the ‘skills, what skills?’ we were mouthing to each other at the time.

My husband and I had both grown up on the land. Cattle and horses are my husband’s ‘trade’. I had of course gone to university and had a degree in teaching, but we had just had our third baby and we live 100km from town. The odd relief teaching day at our local school was a far cry from helping us to get by. Thus, Tony went away to work contract mustering and I stayed home, doing what stay at home Mums do best, hatching plans on how to take over the world.

Over the weeks he was away, I started researching online, looking up photography pages and photos from people who inspire me. Now, I know I’m not the only one of us wives who hit our husbands with our ‘amazing’ ideas as they hit the door, home from being away and I can’t be the only one whose ideas normally tank about 2 steps past the point of hello, but for some reason (probably exhaustion or I like to think because he missed me) he said “ok”.

The next day, I made up a facebook business page and asked my friends to like and share it and away we went. Within a couple of hours, two of my amazing (brave and generous) friends asked me to make the trip to their place and take their photos and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Most photo sessions mean at least a 200km round trip on a dirt road to Hughenden. I would be lying if I said I enjoyed the travelling side of things, but when I get to go to people’s homes and capture them as their authentic selves, it makes it so worthwhile.

It also means balancing the kids. I have an extremely supportive husband who loves the fact that I’m giving something I love a go. We are fortunate in the fact that we are self employed which means that Tony can take the kids when I need him to. He takes over the school runs, looking after Frankie during the day and all the cooking and cleaning when I’m flat out with editing sessions. Yes I know I am lucky!

Families, weddings, engagement sessions, newborns, maternity, commercial photos, the local formal and deb ball and the beginning stages of a local solar farm is what I’ve captured so far. It’s all been a very steep learning curve, but it’s been so much fun and I’ve loved the variety and most of all the challenge.

I get extremely nervous before every photoshoot as I put an incredible amount of pressure on myself to ‘get it right’. I aspire to deliver something my clients want to blow up huge and hang on their wall. This is very important to me.

Sometimes disasters happen. I have turned up to a school formal, arriving front and centre with my car covered in mud from a storm I’d gone through on the way to towN. I had my steel cap boots fall to pieces upon arrival at the solar farm and had a lens snap from my camera just as I had taken the last photo for the evening of my very first wedding. One of my most memorable sessions to date was one I had given as a 21st birthday present to one of the teacher aides at my son’s school. As her place is on the way home from school, I picked up the 2 boys aged 4 and 6 at the time, drove there, set up them up in front of her tv and went out in the paddock beside the house to take some photos. Madeline was dressed immaculately in a stunningly gorgeous, sequinned red gown and the light was absolutely perfect. Suddenly, Madeline cracked up laughing, pointed and said “Oh my GOD look at your son!” I turned, and there was Hugh, my four year old, approaching pants in hand, big grin across his face. I yelled “Hughie, what are you doing?” To which he replied, “Mum, I couldn’t find Maddie’s toilet so I had to do a bush poo! Can you please wipe my bum?” My stance as ‘avid professional’ well and truly flawed.

My advice to anyone living remotely who has dreamed of doing photography professionally, is to whole heartedly go for it. We all know about travel, we all do it. Groceries, doctors, kids swimming lessons, you name it we have to travel for it as do most of the clients you will travel to. Don’t see it as a hurdle, grasp the opportunity. Hone your skills and take photos that allow people to see your worth. People will pay the travel costs because they will see the value in the product you deliver. That’s what I’m working on.

I’m still on the very bottom of the hill, when it comes to learning about photography. The way it changes and styles evolve, I think I’ll always be on the bottom of that hill. I kind of like it that way. I love to learn and the challenge is what keeps me passionate.

Thank you for reading my blog post! Find me on my Facebook Page ‘Lindy Hick Photography’ or on instagram @lindyhick_photography.