Farms from the sky as captured by photographer Joshua Smith using some of the latest Canon gear.

Art from the sky: Why our farmers should be proud

JOSHUA Smith grew up on a farm. He knows only too well the cruel cycles of drought and flood, the blood, sweat, tears and now technology that goes into the land.

He also knows that many Australians think little of where their food comes from, nor the fibre that makes our clothing.

And he knows too many farmers are rubbished for destroying the environment, even when most of them are better managers of the land than any of us.

Over the past decade, the rural and landscape photographer and father of two has been flying over northern NSW, documenting the incredible scenes below.

The colours are so vibrant.  The patterns so stunning. The lines so straight. Farming is art when it is shot from the sky and Josh captures it better than most.


As we celebrate Australia Day, the Canon photographer wants us to better understand the farmers' story, the incredible work they put in to putting food on our tables.

"My goal is to tell the story of Australian farmers, who are the best and most sustainable in the world.''

"Despite what some people think, farmers are very good environmentalists."

"We have got some of the best and most productive soil of anywhere in the world."

His photography demonstrates the sheer scale and beauty of the land - paddocks that can be five kilometres by kilometres - the size of Sydney suburbs.

They are farmed by massive, GPS-controlled machines which are monsters up close. But from the air they are tiny blips on the sprawling Australian landscape.

Crop circles from the air.
Crop circles from the air. Joshua Smith

Together with long-time mate and pilot Joe Smith, Josh scours fields of wheat, barley, chickpea, cotton and sugar, looking for the magic combinations of lines, patterns, and colours, which often spring to life in the late afternoon sun.

Josh, who grew up just out of Narrabri, more than 520 kilometres northwest of Sydney, has a keen eye for the 'art' of the land - something that his pilot and mate has also acquired as they work together identifying the magic moods below them.

They have travelled across NSW, down as far as Grafton and Lismore, and up to southern Queensland, as well as across to Australia's iconic desert heartland.

"There's a lot of symmetry up in the air and a lot of angles to work with.''

Farms from the sky as captured by photographer Joshua Smith using some of the latest Canon gear.
Farms from the sky as captured by photographer Joshua Smith using some of the latest Canon gear. Joshua Smith

He loves the reaction to his photographs, particularly from farmers themselves, who may not get to see the beauty of what they do in the daily grind.

"A lot of famers see their property in a completely different light.''

The photographer, who sells his prints as fine art, describes the buzz of hearing people talk of his work at an exhibition - praise he admits remains still 'foreign' to him.

He says Australian farmers have a lot to be proud of, particularly in the way they care for, and rest, the land to ensure it remains productive into the future.

"It's really an honour to be able to tell that story…. To show people where their three meals a day and clothes comes from.''

Photographer Joshua Smith.
Photographer Joshua Smith.