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Mar 25, 2016 4:17 EDT

Cloud Chasing publication: A unique community project that provided 68 women from regional Western Australian communities a platform to challenge stereotypes

iCrowdNewswire - Mar 25, 2016

Cloud Chasing publication

By Rachel Mckenzie


The story of the project

Cloud Chasing is a community photography project that challenges the long held stereotypes of women living in regional Australia.

‘Its no secret that when you live in the bush you are often portrayed as unsophisticated and uncultured’

Cloud Chasing is a unique community project that provided 68 women from the regional Western Australian communities of Morawa, Chapman Valley and Mullewa a platform to challenge these stereotypes. Through a series of concept and visioning workshops the ladies developed their ideas and stories. Drawing on real life experiences, dreams and aspirations, they were encouraged to sprinkle a little creative magic and modern day fairytale into their everyday lives to imagine another version of themselves.

‘Cloud chasing gave us the creative freedom to explore an element of ourselves that may lay dormant, an alter-ego never given the opportunity to be explored. Away from earthly responsibilities, removed from the sometimes harsh reality of living off the land or in the bush, we were given the opportunity to develop another version of ourselves’ 

The concepts and stories that evolved were as varied and unique as each participant. Ranging from exploring personal challenges, experiencing life in another era, being as brave as their hero’s, to living out simple childhood dreams. Digging deep, many of us took a personal journey of healing and self exploration, while others relished in the opportunity to simply put on a beautiful frock, an opportunity rarely afforded to many when a majority of our time is spent on the farm.

‘When you spend your days on the back of a horse or in the paddock there is rarely cause to put on pearls and a ball gown but that doesn’t mean that isn’t part of who we are, its simply that our lifestyle rarely provides the opportunity to do so’ 

These concepts were brought to life through a lot of hard work, planning, creatively and good old county ingenuity. Working with a stylist, professional photographer, makeup and hair artists, the participants took up the challenge to bring their concept to life.

While it would have made life somewhat easier we decided not to digitally manipulate the photographs to create our scenes and images. We wanted our explorations to be grounded in the reality of our everyday physical environment. Each photo shoot was carefully planned and styled to utilise the local landscape, buildings and venues.

‘We were challenged on many levels as we were encouraged to dig deep to find our story, bringing out unexplored childhood dreams, changed life paths and hidden talents that have never had the opportunity to be explored. For some of us, just having our makeup done professionally and being the center of attention, in front of a camera was nerve wracking. Sharing my story and image has required a lot of bravery, it has certainly pushed my boundaries. The experience has been such an amazing journey of self discovery that it has opened me up to how I see people, I now find myself looking at people and wondering what it is that I’m not seeing about them, what dreams and talents are they hiding under their everyday exterior. If turning this project into a publication can share just a little bit of that wonder, It will have been worth all the hard work ‘.

Cloud Chasing has been such a profound experience for many of us, we want the opportunity to share and inspire others with this project. We need your help to bring together the beautiful images, along with their stories to create a beautifully crafted book. Inspiring and sometimes challenging this publication will be a celebration and rare insight into  what it is to be a woman living in regional Australia.

To see how you can help or to pre-purchase a copy of the book please check out the rewards below:

How the funds will be used

The funds will be used to produce a high quality photographic book. To ensure the quality of the book we are utilizing a local Western Australian publishing house, Fremantle Press.  

$44,000   Publisher fee to produce a 1000 hard cover books, (this includes Graphic design, print layout, print management and quality control, editing all text, project management, shipping and delivery of books to WA, printing of publication) 
 $4,500   Amount estimated to post out books
 $2,425   Pozible fees 

$50,925 TOTAL

This is the minimum we need to publish our book to the standard and quality we think it deserves. 

Some of my other work

Cloud Chasing was inspired by the Mullewa Arts Development Group’s project Hunting For Foxes. With a similar concept as Cloud Cashing, Hunting for foxes was a contemporary photography project involving fifty women from the Midwest town of Mullewa, Western Australia. Hunting for Foxes looked to challenge long held stereotypes and archetypes of women living on the land in regional Australia. In particular the concept that regional women are somewhat unsophisticated, uncultured and not particularly glamorous. The participants all felt that although their lifestyle rarely allowed for them to express this side of themselves it was still a part of who they were and they relished the opportunity to express this. 

Participants took part in photography skill development workshops and worked as assistants on each other’s shoot. Professional photographers, along with fashion stylists and hair and make-up artists where engaged to bring the ladies concepts to life. This experience, for many women, challenged them on a range of different levels. Just having hair and make-up done by a professional was a first for some while being in front of a camera and being fussed over was ‘alien’, for many. 

Cloud Chasing was born form the request of neighboring communities to have access to the same opportunity to participant in a project similar to Hunting for Foxes.  

Hunting for Foxes resulted in an exhibition at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery and a stunning publication showcasing the final image and story from each participant. 

You can see more about Hunting for Foxes project on the blog by clicking here.


Our only challenge is raising the funds to publish the book. We have an experienced team of editors and publishers at Fremantle Press and a dedicated groups of participants and coordinators who have worked hard to get the project to this stage.

If we do not manage to raise the funds, its simple really, these images and stories wont fulfil their dream of becoming a book. 

Project Team

Rachel Mckenzie

Perth, Australia



Contact Information:

Rachel Mckenzie

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