Meeting people and being inspired

THROUGHOUT Queensland I have travelled along many rural and remote roads and ventured up and down countless highways. Along the way I've passed and re-passed places where I have previously completed photo shoots.

I may not necessarily remember every property or person's name, but I can recall what photographs were taken and what events took place while capturing those moments.

With each assignment I am sent on or with every lead that I may stumble across there is usually a story within the story.

Usually I meet people who will only be in my life for a short period of time - a couple of hours at most - and then they are gone again.

When I arrived at the Norwin property Lance and Arnold Peters, Springfields, made comment that they weren' t the most photographic people in the district. Yet I beg to differ because with each picture I snapped they were obliging and eager to please. This is my favourite picture of them among their dryland corn crop.

Yet, more often than not, when I look back over my photos I can recall certain things about the time spent with them and this makes each photo shoot memorable.

For example meeting Lance and Arnold Peters at Norwin last week was a delight.

Mr Peters suggested that perhaps I should seek out someone more photogenic or better looking than he and his son. When the shoot was over I commented that they didn’t look too bad after all.

I enjoy having people tell me that they don’t take a good photo. I watch their expressions as they see the final product and more often than not the comment is: “Oh that’s actually not too bad. I like that.” This is when I know I am doing my job.

Have you ever met someone briefly and by spending just a few moments with them felt you are a better person for it?

That is how I feel regularly and usually the ones I meet are just everyday people, going about their everyday lives and dealing with what cards they have been dealt.

One such couple are Mervyn and Courtney Newlands from Captains Mountain.

They have two beautiful boys and one of them has been diagnosed with Autism, which is a “lifelong developmental condition that affects, among other things, the way an individual relates to their environment and their interaction with other people".

Mason's mum, Courtney, explained to me that since Mason had been at AEIOU in Toowoomba, he had improved greatly. From previous years of working with children with autism I was impressed with how Mason interacted with us.

The Newlands have accepted this diagnosis and have told me that they “happily embrace Mason having Autism”. This sort of attitude is inspiring to me and working with children with special needs is and always will be another passion of mine.

Recently I also caught up with some very resilient people including Lindsay Penney. Considering everything that has happened to him and his family, they can still laugh and have a joke with me and smile for the camera while out inspecting the devastation left by Cyclone Marcia.

Living on the land can be a tough way of life and my heart goes out to all the farmers who are being affected by floods and drought at the moment.

May you find strength within yourselves and each other and the ability to get through these trying times.

Every week I meet new people and from those encounters I usually walk away having learnt something new or having gained some useful information to pass onto the next person.

I owe a lot of great memories to people I hardly know and to them I say – Thank You.

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Sarah Coulton

Sarah Coulton

is a photographer for Queensland Country Life
Twitter: @QCLSarah_C
Coultons CountryQueensland Country Life photographer Sarah Coulton shows you a glimpse of rural Queensland from behind the lens.


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