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.