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Documenting Northern Australia’s Cattle Ranchers

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Swedish photographer Hakan Ludwigson spent months documenting the spartan life of cattle ranchers in Australia’s Northern Territory. The tale is familiar: Young men wooed by the romance of the cowboy life, only to later discover its harsh realities. The cattlemen spend 12-hour days strapped to a saddle, sleep on the ground for weeks at a time, and eat less-than-satisfactory meals. In his book Balls and Bulldust, Ludwigson captures the cowboy life at its toughest. Below, are RealClearLife‘s favorite images from it.

Stationhand Stuart Brown from Christchurch, New Zealand, drafting. (Balls and Bulldust by Hakan Ludwigson, publishd by Steidl)
Stationhand Stuart Brown from Christchurch, New Zealand, drafting. (Balls and Bulldust by Hakan Ludwigson, published by Steidl)
Resting in the shade of a tarpaulin. Jackaroo Malcolm Chillmon, 20, from Chippendale, New South Wales with Jillaroo Susan Gilmore from Brisbane, Queensland, and stationhand Mark Ashlin from Gulgung, New South Wales. (Balls and Bulldust by Hakan Ludwigson, publishd by Steidl)
Resting in the shade of a tarpaulin. Jackaroo Malcolm Chillmon, 20, from Chippendale, New South Wales with Jillaroo Susan Gilmore from Brisbane, Queensland, and stationhand Mark Ashlin from Gulgung, New South Wales. (Balls and Bulldust by Hakan Ludwigson, published by Steidl)
Mustering at Pigeon Hole outstation. (Balls and Bulldust by Hakan Ludwigson, publishd by Steidl)
Mustering at Pigeon Hole outstation. (Balls and Bulldust by Hakan Ludwigson, published by Steidl)
“Saddle bronc training” set up. (Balls and Bulldust by Hakan Ludwigson, publishd by Steidl)
‘Saddle bronc training’ set up. (Balls and Bulldust by Hakan Ludwigson, published by Steidl)
Mustering on Barkly Tableland. (Balls and Bulldust by Hakan Ludwigson, publishd by Steidl)
Mustering on Barkly Tableland. (Balls and Bulldust by Hakan Ludwigson, published by Steidl)