A recent report states that by the end of 2020, nearly a third of small, independent farmers will face bankruptcy. I am making contact with farmers on the North and South Forks of Long Island and sometimes beyond to familiarize you with their faces.
These portraits capture farmers as they step away from the sun-warmed soil, often weary from the day’s work, with a film of dirt on their skin and clothes, and onto the pure black velvet of my backdrop. To gaze into the eyes of a farmer is to make a connection between the food that we eat and the person who not only grows it but also wrestles daily with the serious questions that face our food system.
Nature and unpredictable events like Covid-19 make enormous demands from our farmers, and as a result, the men and women responsible for growing our food are constantly learning and re-learning the best practices to serve her. They are scientists and artists; their lab coats and easels traded for the abundance that grows on our lands. When I close my eyes and imagine the shapes and textures of innovation, I don’t see wires and robots, and screens. I see the farmer, as they are, as they always have been.