A photographic celebration of the agricultural worlds of the Hudson, Mohawk, and Schoharie River Valleys and beyond
Foreword To The Book
Since I began spending more time in Dutchess County, NY, beginning in 2000, I have had an increasing awareness and appreciation for the agricultural world of upper New York State – and the extraordinary personalities working these farmlands. This awareness and interest was accelerated several years ago when I began shooting a documentary film on Pleasant View Farm – up the Hudson River in Albany County – and its owners: several generations of the Rau family. As part of this documentary film, I had taken hundreds of still images...creating a dual record if you will. As I reviewed these photographs over subsequent months, I recognized that here was a very compelling visual story about a world most of us rarely inhabit.
While I recognize their place, I am not seeking to reproduce standard editorial shots of rural life or lovely images suitable for coffee table books. My objective for the material found in this book is to describe the atmosphere of this world perhaps in its most elemental way, its rougher texture, and the sometimes hard life experiences. Through these pictures, I hope to show a glimpse of that life and material culture in ways similar to what James Agee and Walker Evans had done so successfully in their work covering Alabama farms for Fortune Magazine in 1936. These profound descriptions, both in word and image, would later be collected in “Let Us Know Praise Famous Men”…and if there can be a father to this endeavor, it would be that book. I am aware of their high bar every time I am in the field with a camera.