From Somewhere Else
Like all of us, the paths my ancestors took to get me to where I am right now are lined with stories of triumph and heartbreak. For my family, many of these trails lead directly through small farms in the Great Plains. The towns of Julesburg Colorado, Big Springs Nebraska and Powell Wyoming are where my forebears grew up, raised families, farmed the land, settled into retirement, and were eventually buried in. As time presses forward, these lands that once sustained them are either meagerly providing or are on the verge of being sold.
I wanted to meet my cousins and spend time with them while they farmed sugar beets, wheat, and barley; or raised cattle and cared for horses. They invited me into their homes, answered my questions, and shared their meals and memories. I learned to appreciate the beauty of flatlands in the early morning and the sense the excitement of storms in the late afternoon. What I thought was going to be a photo documentary about contemporary farming turned into something else entirely. It became a road into the past including our family’s immigration from Germany, then Russia, then to the Western US. It was about stories of people I never met, but whom looked like someone I know. This project was a realization that everyone is from somewhere and most are from somewhere else.
This work is the culmination of two years of travel to my relative’s farms to photograph and interview. It is presented as both a documentary and homage to the people who continue to carry on this family tradition and those that came before them.
Represented by Imogen Gallery, Astoria Oregon. Books Available!