You probably know Vicki Miller through her photography business (@VickiMillerPhotography). The idyllic sunset shots. Natural scenes of the countryside that spark a sense of yearning. Newlyweds in the depths of joy. Newborns in the depths of sleep. Families sharing a laugh. And, of course, a horse or five, looking immaculate.
Each photograph evokes a sense of tranquillity, contentment and beauty. They are elements of the rural lifestyle that Vicki was born into and plans to never leave.
“The thought of going to university and not being at home to go mustering or just enjoy this lifestyle is pretty much the main reason I decided not to go.”
Then photography “fell in her lap” and suddenly Vicki found herself at the intersection of three industries: agriculture, photography and fashion. In the mornings, she is an employee of her family’s horse stud and beef cattle operation at Mingela. By sun’s fading light, she is behind the lens shooting for clients. The rest of the time is spent editing photos, researching fashion for upcoming shoots and, where possible, helping her fiancé Josh.
It’s a juggling act, one that requires some long nights. But, Vicki loves a challenge.
“Challenges are good for you. They make you work harder and the rewards are that much more.
“Mum, Dad and my fiancé Josh all support my super busy business and the fact that I travel a lot for work. Their support makes the challenges not seem so difficult. We all love family and we love our careers and the lifestyle. It all goes hand in hand.”
Vicki says there may be days when she feels hopeless, but that it’s never been a question of whether, as a woman, she was capable of the task.
“Dad has always said that women can work just as hard as men. Having that kind of role model has been a great way to grow up. There was never that seed of doubt in my mind from the beginning.
“And my Mum, well, she is just about the most capable woman I know. She can drive a road train, fix any flat, ride any horse, spend all day chasing cattle, shoe a horse, artificially inseminate, preg test – I feel like she can do anything and everything.”
It’s clear that family is an important motivator for Vicki. Her work sharing photos and stories of the people that are part of the rural tribe she loves follows closely behind.
“Watching the way families connect, the way couples speak about each other – it makes me so happy.”
An added bonus for Vicki is her photos are helping to shine a light on a lifestyle that can be misunderstood in the city.
“Education is key. I think we should implement programs that allow city folk to come to properties and learn about our lifestyle.
“The bridge is well and truly paved when it comes to fashion – the last few years have seen country fashion trends filter down to city people: ankle boots, cowgirl boots, felt hats, boho and country fashion.
“Rural women are talented, resourceful and stylish, and people are really starting to take notice.”
Fashion, Vicki says, shouldn’t be underestimated, as both a connector between city and country, and as a way to build confidence.
“There is nothing quite like putting on an outfit that makes you feel beautiful. We all have those outfits – no matter our shape or size – that makes us feel fabulous.
“It puts you in a better mood. And that confidence makes you walk a little taller – it definitely shows in your mood and the smile on your face. A woman’s smile always tells you just how she feels.
“That’s why I’ll go mustering wearing a floral shirt and my favourite sunnies, and probably get totally filthy, but love that I still feel like a lady.”
Vicki’s life has many different focal points, but this rural photographer’s favourite lens and filter are fairly easy to come by: home and a spectacular sunset.
“My favourite thing in the whole world is to be on a horse as the last rays of light leave this side of the earth. That makes me feel whole.”
Check out Vicki’s beautiful photos at Vicki Miller Photography.
Story by : Megan Stafford