There are very few photographers who have captured farms or agriculture positively. The FSA photographers captured the great depression in the 1930’s with famous images by Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange to act as a catalyst to improve farming and make the farmers move to other land. Few photographers have captured the positivity of farming because all the mud and splintered wood is difficult to capture positively. From searching on the internet I’ve been able to locate Michelle Bogre’s project on farming, photographing family farms, to show the realities of the farm farms so legislation can be put in place to support them. Even though most of the photographs are nice captures of farm life, they don’t show anything to make it seem that they need legislation, it looks more like a homage of traditional farming for families. Some images are badly exposed with shadows that take away from the image, and some images have the shadow of the camera in the bottom of the photograph. She’s not the most renowned photographer, but this example shows that photographers do what to photograph farms positively, and they can. Some of the shots look interesting with the way their posed, and the square format works well with nice vibrant colours.
Then there is Travis Dewitz’s project to show appreciation of the small traditional family run farm before commercial farms put them out of business.
‘Wisconsin farms are the heart and soul of our state. Farms in Wisconsin range from small family farms all the way up to large corporate run farms. The goal of this ongoing project is to capture the essence of what helped make Wisconsin what it is today and to capture the old smaller farms that I can before they are lost forever. Many of the smaller farms that I have already been to are old family farms that have been operated by generations of the same family. Many of the farmers I talked to at these smaller farms say that it is getting harder and harder for them to keep running the farms as they are. Many of these are old dairy farms which are becoming less common place then the larger more modern operations which are taking their place across the Wisconsin countryside.’
His project is similar to mine in that it is a homage to farmers. He is solely capturing traditional farms, so it shows a lot more about their processes. Furthermore, the sequencing is very jumbled on his website, the images have little flow. He’s just wanting to show appreciation on his website, there is no real finished product in book form, so he’s showing a very flat narrative on his website. The images have a very dark glow to them, the majority were taken in golden hour so you get this nice contrast between the gold and the black. Its really nice in connotations that even in dark times for these family farms they have a golden shine of skill and love for their job that prevails, its a nice set of images.
There is little established professional, exhibited projects surrounding farming. But those who photograph them show that there is an audience for it.