Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Haystacks at Giverny Claude Monet (pencil on paper)
Driving around any country landscape, big fields everywhere are dotted with a large variety of haystacks. Hay is grown for many reasons, it’s most prominent uses is as animal feed, particularly for grazing. According to the site Mother Earth News, you can expect a cow to eat about 35 pounds of hay a day during cold weather and a horse will eat 44 while sheep and goats will get by on a little over five. The intricate history of hay can be found on Wikipedia, but basically early on in farming's history it was noticed that in the spring fields produced more hay then could be consumed by the animals, so by cutting it, drying and storing it for the winter saved the domesticated animals from digging though the snow to feed and provided them better nutrition.
Haystacks, Evany Gruwald Bela
This all was to be done by hand cutting the hay by scythe and then gathered up into large bundles called sheafs with the development of technologies, this was latter done by horse drawn implements and then latter with machinery such as the tractor and the baler. Large rectangle bails or more commonly huge rolls of hay we see drying in the fields; they are markers of the places we inhabit and part of our landscape. Artist for years have been examining them and their function in our space. Harvest in Provence, Vincent van Gogh
This brings to mind the a quote from John Huddleston, “A photograph that appears almost ordinary and yet evokes a sense of truth and beauty is all the more meaningful. The mundane makes up most of ones life and it is to everyday life that we need to feel more connected.” Perhaps that is why artists such as Monet, (who painted and sketched many versions of the same stacks though out his career), and countless others including Van Gogh and Bela felt compelled to produce work featuring the haystack. This past weekend when I was home photographing I was visiting a local farm down the street from my grandmothers house the owner showed me several stacks of hay that her husband and children had done using traditional methods.
East Street, Hebron CT © Amanda Kilton 2007
In looking though these hundreds of slides over the last few weeks I come to a dead end, I’m at loss for what to do. I’ve become very attached to these characters and just as abruptly as the series of images begins it ends, with no real resolution. At some point ‘possible family trees’ and timelines of events just fizzle out. I’m working on doing some research to see what I can come up with, for now however I will continue to do my best to present these images in as much truth as I can imagine.
This image was taken in 1946, Chuck was just 2 and EJR and Ruth had been married for just over four years, they were beginning to think of moving east, EJR wanted to pursue getting his doctorate. Here they are just getting ready to depart Ruth’s sisters house, after visiting for a few days, her son just had his fourth birthday and based the photos it seems to have been quite a rambunctious weekend.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
So as it turns out sorting though 40 years of slides while trying to get to know the family inhabiting the world in cased in those metal boxes, takes a lot of time. More then I originally thought. I’ve been working on a time line of events and a family tree, but there are a few people that I’ve come across that seem to not be friends but don’t really fit into the tree neatly, any way I thought I would put up what I’ve got so far.
The photo is of who I think is Chuck’s Father’s (EJR) sister Helen and Chuck, it was taken in 1945. If Helen isn’t a relative she must have been a dear family friend because thus far she seems to be around a great deal and was in one slide labeled Family
Sunday, September 23, 2007
My favorite thing about photographing in the area around where I grew up, which happens to be a small town, so I’m sure this is similar for any one who frequents those types of towns, are the people and their stories. Their personalities and hearts that are part of making up the landscape in which they inhabit. Every time I get in my car and just drive in circles around dirt roads that I’ve seen for years but never driven down before searching, when ever I stop I meet some of the most kind spirited, and interesting people. If it were not for them and their consistent reworking of their land, and desire to hold onto the life that they have always known in this place as it is rapidly changing and more houses and roads are being built, I would have no one to go home to.
This particular photo of the wood stacked on the front porch, belonged to an older gentleman, who grew up in this house. He now lives there with his elderly mother and a nurse who helps him care for her, both of which only speak polish. When his mother, who was just a child and his grand parents emigrated here from Poland they bought this farmhouse in the mid 1900 (it was built in 1812). He told me that it is built of chestnut, and will never have to be rebuilt, because, it’s the strongest wood there is and it will never rot. The farm is still in operation and he hays the land and sells firewood; he also keeps a beehive.
Photo: Route 207, Lebanon CT © 2007 Amanda Kilton
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
My Other Family
Every Sunday Morning from May though November there is a flea market at the Mansfield Drive In Theater & Marketplace. Being my Mother’s daughter (and my Grandmother’s granddaughter and my Aunt’s niece for that matter) I can’t resist a little treasure hunt. So whenever I’m in the area I drive over a little after 8 with my Mother (the key is not getting there too early because the venders won’t be set up, but if you get there late they’re breaking down their stations). Amongst the old belt buckles, teapots, car parts, costume jewelry, designer bags and jeans, dollar store bargains, and postcards there’s the occasional photographic treasure. Typically they are buried at the bottom of a box of 649 curled up and torn black and white photos from some estate sale or busted but beautiful old Brownie or Polaroid cameras. One Sunday last June just as we were getting ready to head home, there they were, stacked ever so neatly on a blue tarp. Seven shining metal boxes packed full of slides, organized, labeled and dated from around 1945 though the mid seventies. Little Chuck and Bill, growing though nearly 40 years in these tiny boxes. My Other Family, I thought I would introduce them – not really in any chronological order, they will appear from time to time. This one is Labeled on the slide “Chevy 1955” it also happens to be of Chuck (on the right) and Bill (left).
Unknown Photographer © 1955
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Just for a little background info, I photograph in southeastern Connecticut – around the area I grew up in. I’m really interested in history and the impact it has on place excreta. Any way that’s not the point, more often then not when I go out photographing, my father comes along with me. He’s good company and always helps me cart all my equipment (occasionally on long hikes and often though the woods). We chat about this and that, I like to hear his opinions on locations. This week I had him bring along a digital camera to take some photos of his own. Among other various planned stops, I had been thinking about going to this area of route 11, a CT. state highway between Hartford and New London (via route 2). The thing about route 11 is that it is about only half completed and it currently ends in Salem, construction began in 1966 but was halted due to funding and the half – finished express way opened in 1972. So there we were on these odd bridges that were built and never used for their intended purpose, but more for people off roading, quading or partying, and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to photograph. That’s when Pop K came out with this weeks featured bit of advice… Shot what’s not there. Cheesy or corny or whatever it maybe – I thought it was rather great advice especially in this case, I was in such a no where place, why try and find something to make it look more then what It was. So these are his photos.
photos: Untitled Route 11 © 2007 Kevin Kilton