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Fiona Lake

Mundingburra, North Queensland (including north west)

When Fiona Lake arrived at one of Queensland's most remote cattle stations, she realised most Australians knew very little about life on some of the planet's largest working properties. She decided to change that, one photo at a time.

I'm Fiona Lake, I'm a rural photographer. I'm based here in Townsville, but I travel all over the place.

I'm a rural photographer and I also write, and I produce magazine stories and publish books.

I was brought up to be fairly independent and that's really why I like working for myself. I grew up on a family farm, so I learned about small business by osmosis. Everything that I've ever done actually feeds into what I do now.

I've pretty well turned over every stone in my field and given it a test to see whether that will be a goer or that will be a goer, and often I've had to try a lot of things before I've hit on something that works. So I had time to learn, and I didn't need a lot of capital to start, which is the way I'd recommend a lot of people start if they're not sure whether it's going to be for them.

I'm a bit of a detail freak and I plan years in advance, but if someone rings me up with something that's on this afternoon or tomorrow, I can drop everything and rush off to it, and I actually love surprises like that, because in my line of work you've got to also have courage to take risks.

A life-long mission to document life on some of Australia's largest livestock properties began for Fiona Lake when she arrived to work on one of Queensland's most remote cattle stations. She realised the majority of Australians knew as little about life on some of the planet's largest working properties as she did. Through her photography, Fiona began bringing the lives of outback property residents to the rest of the world.

When Fiona started out, tourists driving through some of Australia's largest inland properties could only buy postcards of saltwater crocodiles. She began printing unique cards showing life on an outback property and sold them between Broome and Townsville. By the time postcard popularity had waned, Fiona had moved on, always staying one step ahead of the competition.

Fiona has always been an early adopter of technology. She built 2 social media profiles which are among the largest agricultural-based social media accounts in Australia. She has also created the country's first rural advocacy website and is a fully licensed drone pilot. In between, Fiona has published 3 books, featuring more than 800 of her best photos from 60 of Australia's largest cattle stations. She has also expanded to lead farm tours, host workshops and has established the Rural Drone Academy, her step towards addressing the gender imbalance in drone users.

Fiona's biggest lesson has been that with success brings imitation, leading to a reduction in profits. Fiona maintains that continuing with original ideas will always keep her a step ahead of the competition.

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