Women of Vision National Geographic Photographers on Assignment
Australian Drought, 2009
Amy ToensingAmy Toensing

Australian Drought, 2009

Sisters ride in the back of a pickup truck across their parched farm in the Murray-Darling basin, a heavily irrigated river system that is home to Australia’s most important agricultural area. Though Australians have weathered prior dry spells, the severe drought that began in the late 1990s and broke with heavy rains in 2010 brought many farmers to their knees. With severely reduced water allowances and rising debts many farmers had to give up what for many had been a way of life for generations.

“It’s about trying to feel people and feel the story,” Toensing says. “The more you can do that, the more likely you’re going to be in the right spot at the right time. Then the actual components of the picture—the light, the composition, the aesthetic—that’s where the hunting comes into play. You see something that you like and you just go for it.”



April 2009 cover  Read more Australian Drought coverage.

Other Photos by Amy Toensing