Small farms all across our country are shrinking every year. I took notice of this many years back as I saw the little town I grew up in change. When I was young, the town my parents chose to live was about 50 miles south of Chicago and just on the edge of some of the best farmland in the country. At that time the population was 1,250 residence in 1960 and has since grown to over 10,000 today. Many developers came into the area offering high prices for farmland so they could build homes for everyone moving out of the city of Chicago. That began the big push that has lead to the decline of small farms and the people who were able to live this type of lifestyle.
I can remember telling myself when my children were young that if K-Mart (which has also disappeared) moves in it is time for us to move out.
REason I am Photographing Rural Subjects
This is one of the main reasons I started photographing not just horses but rural imagery. I could see what was happening, and I realized that one day my great grandchildren would have no idea what life was like back when I was their age. So I started to document it.
It is not just the landscape that seems to be changing but many of the things we use to do and the sounds we use to hear.
Things like hanging your clothes on the clothes line outdoors, keeping chickens and the sound of the rooster, church bells ringing on the hour, the sound of bees buzzing in your garden and entering projects at the local county fair.
Many are trying to bring back these simple lifestyles but will there be any room for small farms and rural settings?
Here is a slow motion video I did in my garden.
I recently came across an article about a photographer in New York with the same mission as I have. She started to ponder how the few people left in the small town where she grew up were surviving. So she went out to photograph them. You can read her article here: Tales from the Contemporary American Farm in the British Journal of Photography
Leaving a Legacy
I feel it is important to do this work as I know the lifestyle is being threatened daily by the constant increase in population. It is a shame actually because I would love for my grandchildren to have been able to grow up with the freedom that we had as children. But with the increase of predators to children due to the dark side of the internet I understand why parents today have to create safe environments for their children to play and grow.
But it is still sad to me that this is all changing. I guess the only thing I can do is the photograph and tell the stories of those who still are living this quiet lifestyle on a remote back road somewhere. Then when my grandchildren are my age they will be able to share all of this with their grandchildren. I guess you could call this my legacy.
What about you?
Do you still live on a small farm or out away from the suburban sprawl? Maybe you still live in a small town that is trying to hang on. Do you feel your lifestyle is being threatened by growth? Please leave your comments below.
This is my "something old" post next week will be "something new" where I will share with you some new things I found to be helpful or interesting.
Take care until next week.
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