It's a heart-wrenching image capturing the trauma of last summer's extreme bushfire disaster. Steve Shipton standing alone on his scorched farm outside Cobargo shooting a burnt calf.
When the photo came up on the main screen at an awards ceremony on Tuesday night, freelance photographer Sean Davey choked back tears.
Being named National Rural Press Club's overall winner of this year's Excellence in Rural Journalism Awards was a bittersweet moment for the Canberra local. Mr Davey, who currently works with The Australian in Canberra as well as a freelancer, said he had never felt such a personal connection to a job than he did during his time in the Bega Valley following the New Year's fires.
"The people there, the welcome I had, the bond that formed between a lot of the people there and myself - it's testament to the character of the people there," he told ACM the day after he was announced the winner of both the Best Photograph of the Year, and Overall Winner.
"Last night when that photo came up on screen I saw it in a different context. I hadn't looked back on it for a while and I found it very emotional. I was on the verge of tears, remembering that day and knowing what Steve and lot of others went through."
Mr Davey said the bond that formed continued to this day and while it's a striking image that surely brings traumatic recollections back to the surface, he said he has always felt supported by Mr Shipton in publishing it.
"A bond set in that type of experience doesn't go away quickly," he said.
Mr Davey said he travelled down the road to Coolagolite on a hunch before bumping into a young vet assisting local farmers.
"Steve came up to the fence on a quadbike, covered in black ash and dirt. You know that term the 'thousand-yard stare' of soldiers? That's what I saw in his eyes.
"But when I introduced myself and told him about what I was doing he said 'yeah mate no worries, ask your questions, but I have another cow to put down so come with me'.
"I feel the best photos come from being welcomed into a place and you have to be aware of how your presence affects people there.
"We're often taking so much when people are at their most vulnerable but you have to give a piece of yourself back and approach it with vulnerability as well.
"That photo is testament to Steve's strength and openness more than my skill."
The connections made run deep.
Mr Davey said he and his wife are moving to Cairns in the new year, but first stop is Coolagolite and Cobargo to catch up with friends made during that awful summer.
Held at the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra, awards were presented for Best News Story, Best Feature Story Award, Scoop of the Year Award, Best Photograph of the Year and the Best New Journalist or Cadet as well as the Overall Winner.
NRPC President Lucy Barbour said the award judges had been spoilt for choice, with entrants lodging a range of compelling and competitive articles from across various news channels.
"Our rural and regional journalists have shone in a really tough year, with COVID-19 making it difficult for journalists to get out and do their job," Ms Barbour said.
"We've also seen a number of rural and regional media outlets move to digital-only publication or shut down entirely, depriving people outside cities of the ability to find out what's going on in their backyard.
"That's why the NRPC is so pleased to celebrate and promote great achievements in rural and regional journalism with these awards. We congratulate all winners and thank everyone who entered.
"Our Overall Winner Sean Davey was the unanimous choice of our judges for capturing a moment in time that summed up months of horrendous events with his photo of farmer Steve Shipton shooting an injured calf in his paddock after a bushfire in Coolagolite, NSW, on January 1 this year."