Notes from the f ield
MOST OF US with two arms would struggle to shear an unwieldy, writhing sheep. So, while shooting Flocking back to
wool (see page 88), photographer Randy Larcombe was intrigued and inspired by one-armed
shearer Josh Talbot (see page 4) at Hamilton Run stud in South Australia. “Josh lost his arm in a road accident when he was young,” Randy explains. Becoming a shearer like his older brother was always Josh’s dream, and it looked as if the accident was going to put paid to that.
But Josh’s resourceful brother wasn’t going to let that happen. He tied one arm behind his back and taught himself how to shear one-handed, so he could teach Josh. “I heard this story before I saw him do it and couldn’t imagine how it could be possible,” Randy says. “I still couldn’t, even as I was taking the shots.”
This tale of brotherly love did more than just warm Randy’s heart. “Stories like this make you wonder how much of our human capacity remains untapped,” he says, adding that it’s meeting extraordinary people like this that motivates him as a professional photographer. “The real interest for me lies in the human stories I come across when doing this kind of assignment. There’s something about the journalism and photography process that allows people to open up and reveal themselves. Everyone has a story and most people like it when someone else listens with interest. I hope through our work that readers are able to share in some of that as well.”