Monday, April 19, 2010

Farm Together Now: They are all me.

The design process for the "Farm Together Now" book is quickly moving along. Right now, I'm taking a break from digging through my notes, double checking the spelling of names, and writing photo captions. And a couple days ago, while doing a final edit of pix for the book's endpaper, these two faces popped up in combination on my Lightroom screen. The photo of Julian, a Wisconsin organic dairyman paired itself with Chris, a vegan food security worker in Atlanta. Some things you just can not plan. Sometimes the clouds open up and illuminate the landscape. Or the brain.

All portraiture references the photographer, quivers with the tone of our own vocal chords, pounds out our own heart beat. We tell other people's stories, but always by framing the light bouncing off our own retina. More than mere "style," a photograph is both a document of the relationships we forge with our subjects and a thinly-disguised self-portrait. Me thinks.

Leonard Freed put it this way: "I was here. I was hot. I was cold. I was happy. I was angry. I experienced this. It took time. It is a part of my life. I remember the situations. It is not just a photograph, but a life experience. They are my people, my characters. They are all me."

Julian and Chris and Jim and Lane, Devon, Joel, Kirstin, Sam...they are all me.

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