Snappers get ready, popular rural photographic competition is back

Rural Aid photography competition 'Spirit of the Bush' returns for 2021

WINNERS: 2020 Rural Aid Spirit of the Bush winning images by Kristin Walsh, Emma Pickersgill and Trina Patterson. Pictures: supplied

WINNERS: 2020 Rural Aid Spirit of the Bush winning images by Kristin Walsh, Emma Pickersgill and Trina Patterson. Pictures: supplied


Riverina photographer Kristin Walsh, had only held a camera a few times before she won the top prize last year.


Kristin Walsh had only held a professional camera a few times before her photo managed to take out the top prize in a national competition.

The Gerogery-based photographer won last year's Rural Aid Spirit of the Bush competition with the image she took of her five-year-old son, Finn, and husband, Kevin, sharing a moment together on their land.

"I had a good feeling about the photo, but I hadn't taken it for the competition," Ms Walsh said.

"I only started photographing when COVID started because I was looking for something to do and I thought, 'well, I've always liked taking photos and I blow my phone up all the time with all the photos I take on it'. I bought a second-hand camera and started."

The photo has now featured in Rural Aid's 2021 calendar and on billboards around the country after it was purchased independently as part of a 'stay connected' campaign.

"All I did was take a picture of my husband and my son as they were walking towards me, and to see that on billboards, I never thought that could happen," she said

Last year, 700 photographers sent an image to the Rural Aid competition, and CEO John Warlters said there was a very distinct aesthetic to the entries.

"Last time we ran this competition, most photographs poignantly depicted the heartbreaking reality of drought," Mr Warlters said.

"I hope that this time round, all of our farmers have been given the chance to capture some happier pictures. I'm excited to see green shoots, frolics in the rain and fattened livestock."

Trina Patterson from Rolleston, Queensland, was awarded the third place prize last year for her image of a girl mustering cattle. She took the photo, she said, while the drought was "sinking its teeth into Queensland".

"I had no intention of entering it into a competition. I just turned around and saw the scene and wanted to capture it," Ms Patterson said.

Having been photographing since 2014, Ms Patterson said she is always "looking for the beauty during the drought". But this year, she's hoping her entry will portray the land's restoration.

"[The competition] is a really good way for people to show off the positive aspects of agriculture and life in the bush," she said.

Rural Aid is this year again asking snappers of all ages and abilities to send in their most stunning photos of life on the land.

A panel of judges will determine the best bush snaps, based on 12 categories;

  • Farming Generations
  • Drought
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Life On A Farm
  • Farm Animals
  • Rural Women
  • Rural Men
  • Outback Kids
  • Rural Landscapes
  • Man's Best Friend
  • Small Towns

Winners will be awarded a feature in the 2022 calendar, and a Rural Aid prize pack.

Photos can be submitted through the page up until 5pm (AEST) on Monday, May 31 2021.