Since August I have been working with a local farmer to start compiling photographs for a documentary series and exhibition, ‘A year in the life of a farmer’. I’m happiest when I’m working around farm animals be it in a field on a showground or on a farm; I find a lot of humour and character in their personalities particularly cows.
I’d had the idea a few months ago to find a couple of farmers who would be happy for me to turn up to take photographs at significant times in the year; ploughing, harvesting, calving, milking etc. There may be a little bit of artistic license in the sense that the farmer I’m working with has beef cattle, and to cover farming as a whole I would like to get some images from a dairy farm; milking and the like, to show the full scope of farming along with the arable side or the business.
Then a different opportunity presented itself a couple of weeks ago; working with a horsewoman who trains horses and shows them in hand and ridden. As I was talking to her this week, and she was explaining the intricacies of the job to keep the interest of the horse and teach it ring manners, I was taken by how much skill there is and how best to show that via photographs.
I’m still having a good think about how to tell that story and show all the skills of both the farmer and the horse woman. I come from a background of television and radio and interviewing people, doing enough research first so that I know the questions to ask, different ones from the everyday interviews people do, to get to the nuggets of gold – the information and stories that most people don’t either have the time or enthusiasm to draw from the interviewee. Here I need to do exactly the same with images, it’s a new challenge for me and one I’m going to relish.
I am now wondering if there is an opportunity to work with the relevant publications to write up these documentaries and publish some of the images that I take? By using the articles to explain to the farmer’s and horse trainer’s community how my subjects do their job and maybe in the process even pass on tips in much the same way as we photographers do via articles and forums.
So this week I’ve just been having a think about different publications whilst also attending a show that was a unique experience for me; a ploughing match, where tractors of all ages and power were on display and also the exciting thing for me; horse ploughing. It’s something that we rarely see these days apart from in farm museums so I was eager to get down to the show and take some photographs, one of which you can see at the top of this article. By the time I left the horses the tractors had virtually finished ploughing their fields so the majority of my SD card was filled with the beautiful horses.
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