Farmer Portraits, Summer 2016
Portraits of farmers from the Athens Farmers Market.
Over the late spring and summer of 2016, I logged a few hundred miles driving between organic farms around northeast Georgia. I was shooting portraits and photographs for the newly redesigned website for the Athens Farmers Market. The drives took me to previously unseen stretches of Wilkes, Newton, Oglethorpe, Madison counties, and offered plenty of window-down, fresh air contemplation.
I love farmers and the act of farming, and I've spent a decent amount of my professional life on farms or thinking about them, but the pressure to render these growers in a way that celebrated their natural power made me nervous. Having no experience in the portrait side of this assignment -- I'm more into photojournalistic action, to be honest -- I was excited to attempt, fail, and figure out a new corner of my craft. I could capture them planting and digging and such with ease, but could I make them look as iconic in my lens as they are in my mind? I tried, and I learned a ton. A few of the photographs below are the result of pure luck. After a few sessions, I became more comfortable asking the farmers to stop what they were doing and pose, which goes against everything I'd normally do as a journalist. In some cases, I think the results were pretty special. Here are a few favorites.