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Beyond the Bale : June 2017
Wool classer and professional photographer Chantel McAlister is promoting the Australian wool industry through photography in her The Truth About Wool campaign. Masterclasser Chantel McAlister hung up her woolclassing stencil in February and set off on a national tour across Australia to visit woolsheds – taking photos and collecting the stories of the people, the sheep, the landscapes and the wool. “My aim is to showcase wool to the rest of the world in all its beautiful truth and educate the world about our versatile, sustainable fibre, the shearing process and the dedication of wool-growing farmers and families,” Chantel said. “Wool has played such an important part in Australia's past and it is my mission to make sure that it is part of our future.” You can follow Chantel on the road on a daily basis via her website and social media, to which she regularly uploads stories and photos taken during her tour. The idea behind the national tour was sparked after Chantel posted a ‘The Truth About Wool’ video she had filmed aboutcrutching on her Facebook page in April last year. Another video on shearing followed in May that has been viewed more than a quarter of a million times. “The videos were well received and feedback suggested that a lot of people were unaware of the whole on-farm wool process. And that’s how my idea about The Truth About Wool National Tour was born, ” she said. “Throughout the tour, I am showcasing the wool industry to the rest of the nation and globally. I also aim to incorporate my photographs into a book and create more of my The Truth About Wool short video documentaries.” The first leg of the tour kicked off in February and included parts of NSW and Victoria. The following legs were in Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania. A South Australian leg is scheduled for August, followed by NSW and Victoria again during September and October, plus southern WA and Queensland. “I’m on a personal mission to showcase our wool to the rest of the world – beautiful, honest, truly Australian.” Photographer and wool classer Chantel McAlister “The tour was created to educate the world about our wool industry and give a bit of recognition to all the people (and animals) who contribute, but what I didn’t know when I started was that even I would be learning so much more about the wool pipeline and what drives people to dedicate their lives to our industry. “One question that I always ask people I visit is, ‘Why, of all the jobs in the whole world would you choose to work in the wool industry?’ Every single person includes ‘Because I love it’ in their answer. “I always feel deeply inspired by the hard work, dedication and sacrifice made by all of those I come across. If I had to sum them all up in one sentence it would be – wool is life. “Thank you to all the people who have opened up their farm gates, homes and lives for me. I have enjoyed sharing your stories with the rest of the world and am incredibly proud to work alongside you in the industry that we love.” While The Truth About Wool is Chantel’s own campaign, it is sponsored by AWI and Bisley Workwear plus donations from supporters (woolgrowers are able to donate to her campaign at www.gofundme.com/ thetruthaboutwool). This funding helps her carry out the tour – by putting fuel in her ute, giving her a place to sleep at night, putting food in her mouth and helping publish her book and videos. MORE INFORMATION If you would like Chantel to visit your wool- growing property and tell your story, you can email her at email@example.com to check availability. To view Chantel’s photos and stories, and purchase prints and canvases visit www.thetruthaboutwool.com THE TRUTH ABOUT WOOL NATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR Chantel on location at ‘Ooma’, Forbes, NSW – pictured preparing for a photo of shearer Ben O’Malley – has a close connection with and enthusiasm for the Australian wool industry. PHOTO: Kirsty Elms Chantel McAlister, pictured while shooting in the Central West of NSW during her The Truth About Wool photography tour. PHOTO: Kirsty Elms 32 ON FARM