When you talk to Lisa Alexander you immediately get a sense of how much she loves where she lives.
While she falters to describe in words her patch of outback Queensland, a 23,000-acre sheep property near Blackall in the centre of the state, what Lisa does with a natural flair is capture it on camera to share with the world.
“If you live in the city, you would think we are remote, but to me it’s not really. I’m an hour from our closest town and that town has 700 people in it.”
There’s no cropping where Lisa lives, just livestock properties. What’s unique about the property “Warringah” Lisa calls home is it’s one of very few properties still running merino sheep, the breed synonymous with Australia riding on the sheep’s back in the 1950s.
However, in the decades that followed the industry has been hit hard by pricing collapses and wild dogs decimating flocks, along with drought, floods and fires.
“It was always a big sheep area, once all wool, but in the last 20 years or so, it has changed to people running crossbreds (sheep bred for meat, not wool) cattle and goats,” Lisa explains.
“Wool is such an amazing product, and I think many urban people don’t quite realise that,” Lisa said, agreeing that many people remember the itchy wool jumpers when they were kids, now a thing of the past.
“There are some women who have amazing small businesses creating incredible woollen products, which I think is wonderful for the industry. People are into fast fashion and staying with the trends instead of buying things that last 10 years.”
Images connect the city with the bush
Lisa is a self-taught, natural light photographer and her property and the sheep make for some of the most spectacular images. While she admits you won’t find her out on the grader and she’s a reluctant off-sider come shearing time, what Lisa does is capture the magic of wool, sheep and the grazing industry to share with people who may never have been exposed to it before.
For Lisa, photography went slowly from a hobby to a profession after her eldest child went to boarding school, with a request to photograph a wedding which propelled her into this new career.
“I was homeschooling my youngest and while she was doing school, I was scouring the internet to learn everything I could about photography. Prior to shooting the wedding I had memorised the settings for every lighting situation possible, out of pure fear.”
Next was a business course, but Lisa said social media has provided the platform for her work and subsequent success. “Nearly all of my work comes via social media, so I am grateful for that, even if at times social media can be so time consuming.”
While Lisa acknowledges there’s an ever-growing number of photographers out there, she doesn’t see it as competition.
“I think it’s a good thing, as their friends in the city see their images and it’s a way of promoting and sharing our lifestyle and industry and why we all love to live and work on the land.”