Ana Paula Estrada finds a way of life threatened with extinction in rural Australia.

Ana Paula Estrada finds a way of life threatened with extinction in rural Australia.

To celebrate Huck 46: The Documentary Photography Special II, our annual celebration of visual storytelling, we are having a Huck website takeover – Shoot Your World – dedicated to the personal stories behind the photographs we love.

In this regular series, Out In The Field, we ask photographers to update us on what their working on right now by breaking their current body of work into four parts – The Question, The Challenge, The Payoff, The Lesson.

Ana Paula Estrada is a documentary photographer from Mexico City who now lives in Brisbane, Australia. Ana uses documentary portraiture to discover how wider social changes affect people’s live and exposes the pressures they face with a striking empathy. She received FONCA´s Young Artists Grant 2013-2014 to pursue her project The Hinterland, which looks at Australian farming communities whose livelihoods and entire way of life are under threat from the increasing globalisation of our food system.

Out In The Field #2

by Ana Paula Estrada

The Question

Who are the people responsible for the production of our food? How long will these small-scale family-owned farms last? Could it be possible that people I’m shooting will be the last farmers in the area?

The Challenge

I have had many challenges during this project; the biggest has been to get people to trust me to come into their farms. Some probably think it is a bit strange and they might wonder why is a Mexican in these small Australian towns trying to photograph them. But most of the time we ended up understanding and liking each other a lot.

I guess another big challenge has been to balance my family life with my work. When I started this series I was pregnant with my second daughter. It has been fundamental to manage my time properly, my “to do list” is my salvation!

The Payoff

For some reason I knew I wanted a photograph of a church in my series. I found one through Google maps and I went to photograph it. I got very excited when I saw this photograph printed on a beautiful paper. That’s when I noticed a much more defined aesthetic and somehow the images in the series began to match. The message on the church´s board meant something special for me: “The deepest longings of your heart confirm your origins”.

The Lesson

Farm work is hard; farmers are strong, resilient, disciplined and very wise people. Small-scale food production is very poorly paid work. The people who are still doing it do so because they care about their community and simply love the profession.

I’ve learned to value my food more and to carefully select the products I buy. Consuming local food really can make the difference to a farmer´s future. We, the consumers, have the power to change things.

Find out more about Ana Paula Estrada and check out more in our Shoot Your World photography takeover.