Balls and Bulldust.
Photographs by Håkan Ludwigson.
Steidl, 2017. 288 pp., 180 color illustrations, 11¾x11¾".
Balls and Bulldust is a rich collection of images that explores life and work among the cattlemen in the Northern Territory in Australia. It is not another cowboy story, rather one about men and women working very hard, and seeking some kind of solitude and sense of space in the midst of harsh conditions. For some, life in Australia's outback is a life-long routine. The young are attracted by its romanticism, which is - more often than not - shattered by reality's hardships. The red dust covering this vast scrubby landscape and filling the air is prevalent in Ludwigson's images. Days can be blistering hot and temperatures at nights may sometimes fall below zero. People sleep on 'swags' on the ground for weeks. The food is drab and the men are in their saddles twelve hours a day mustering herds of cattle, branding and castrating young bulls. Håkan Ludwigson, who is one of the world's leading commercial photographers, spent three months with the cattlemen of the Australian outback early in his career, and returned to his native Sweden with a body of work that became Balls and Bulldust in 2012. The work was first exhibited at Strandverket Konsthall on Marstrand in Sweden in 2012. The exhibition was curated by Hasse Persson.