I stepped away for a couple of weeks, to get some work done on a new project photographing farmers. This project has been in the works for some time, but the parameters kept changing on how it was going to be done. What started out to be a series of up-close head shots shot using a 4×5 view camera transformed into the images below. In the end, it all came down to having the ability to shoot quickly, so keeping camera gear and lighting simplified and portable was essential.
Contrary to what some people might believe, most farmers are very intelligent, environmental conscious, and some of the hardest working people I know. Their work day can start around 6:00am and not end until 9:00pm, and what most of them consider chores, we would call a hard days work. Depending on what they’re farming or raising, some farmers could potentially put up a life savings each year, with the chance of loosing it all to a bad season. Regardless of the hard work and the risk, everyone I photographed really seemed to love what they were doing. Even the children I had photographed as part of this project were fairly involved with some of the daily activities.
Although this project is still ongoing, everyone that I’ve met and/or photographed has been unbelievably friendly and generous. With most of their days being filled with one task after another, everyone was gracious enough to take a little time to have their photo taken. As part of this project, I’ve had the privilege of photographing different types of farmers; from the full-time large scale farmers to part-time farmers (which also work another full-time job). In addition to the traditional livestock and grain, I even had the opportunity to photograph some tobacco farmers from Pennsylvania.
As this project progresses, I will continue to update images here and at www.donbensmanphotography.com