Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Farmville, USA

Geographers laid out most of the Midwest in simple, square-mile grids bordered by country roads. Farmers populated the majority of these grids over a hundred years ago. Last weekend, I visited two working farms in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Fascinated by the process and details of the farm worlds away from the Whole Foods dairy isle, I wandered the farms taking photos.

Today, larger farms dominate the agricultural industry fueling critiques like Food Inc. However, independent family-owned farms still flourish in specific niches.

The chicken coop.

Grass-fed organic milk, still hot.

Stand off.


Chomping grass, not grain, the Heidel Organic Farm produces a few thousand gallons of milk a week. David showed me around the operation and I did my best to avoid cow shit and take photos at the same time.

Lone ranger.


I always liked Chicken Run.

Twice a week, Organic Valley picks up milk from the Heidel farm.

Fresh eggs, from "unobstructed" chickens.

The farm dog inspecting the chickens.

The view from a hundred year-old hen house.

Milking time!

The Heichler farm vertically produces hand made sweaters. Starting with the lamb, Kathrine and Karl raise the sheep, spin the wool and knit the sweaters. More info here.


More patina.

Catching some rays.

Empty stables.

Ready for an omelet.

David Heidel.

Farming is a livelihood, not a job. These farmers are proud of their work. It was inspiring to spend time on their farms. Visit a farm sometime, you will enjoy it.

Here are some more links,
Farmville (Picasa),
Wisconsin (ART).


Anonymous said...

Great light in these, Foster. Great words, too.

Tim said...

Really nice.

Foster Huntington said...

thank you. one of the most important aspects of photography, that i have learned so far, is to shoot when the light is good. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon. i dont touch my camera from 930 to 4.

tintin said...

So that's the secret. Great shots.

Foster Huntington said...

Ready when you are..

thank you. means a lot to me,

Anonymous said...

i particularly like the symmetry and lines in these shots. this post is a great portrait of these farms.

Foster Huntington said...

All of the buildings had great interior lines. thanks for the kind words,

Turling said...

Absolutely beautiful. I think you captured the essence nicely.

Walt Perkins said...

so true about the lighting. these remind me of when i worked on a chicken farm in s. georgia and brought my camera to work one day. one day on a farm could fill a gallery

Foster Huntington said...

i could have spent days in these barns. if i have ever a slow spot in my career this could be a fun way to was some time. Thank you for the kind words,

Eran Evan said...

Beautiful photos. great colors and a true emotional point of view.
thank for posting it :-)

Anonymous said...

Nothing like a visit to a real working farm.

I call that time 'The Golden Hour'

No fill light, just stunning natural light.

Lovely images as per the norm

Foster Huntington said...

There are two golden hours each day, maybe three. the hour and half around sunrise and the hour and half leading up to and just after sunset. so much about the farms, animals spoke to me. maybe its because i live in manhattan and dont see many sheep or cows. who knows.

GSV JR said...

Holy Christ. I'd crack 10 of them eggs in my piehole before they'd see a flame. And some of those chickens are kinda sexy.

Megan said...

Those sheep look so regal in the first shot. You captured life on a smallish farm beautifully.

Foster Huntington said...

thank you megan, i like the sheep too.

as for the eggs, i dont know if i would uses them that way,

Ben said...

Great, great photos- really nice sense of composition. What camera/lens were you using?
I'm a Golden Hour lover; Nestor Almendros work in Days of Heaven - yea dog.

Thanks for these.

between 7 and 9 said...

Wow, these are really great shots.

Foster Huntington said...

i use a 5d mark ii and a zeiss 35mm f2. i am going to start shooting with a 50 again. thanks for the kind words,

tintin said...

Ektachrome? Looks like you pushed 2 stops

Mirza Obaidullah Baig said...

Great pictures Foster, I love the pictures that you take, the very first one of the building, there is beautiful symmetry to it while still being a lil bit of center, bravo.

Emily Heichler said...

Foster, there is just one thing i have to say about these photos, i work on this farm and now that I've seen these I realized how lucky I am to work on a farm like this. There is so much beauty on this farm and you took some really great pictures. You are a great photographer.

Foster Huntington said...

I had an amazing time at the family farm. It was gorgeous and positive. i am flattered that they made you realize it.

Shinya said...

Woah dude, this is one of the best blogs I've stumbled on to.. So rad.

Unknown said...

These are truly gorgeous!

Allison said...

As a Wisconsinite who grew up on a little farm, I'm proud to see how beautiful and timeless you've captured the true heart of the Midwest. Whenever I pop back to check on A Restless Transplant, it always seems like you're still aiming to see and appreciate the things that are lasting. Small, but everlasting. Much kudos to you, Foster. Amazing photos as always.


Foster Huntington said...

Thank you for the comments. It always helps to have a beautiful back drop to take photos. These backdrops are all around us, we just get used to them and neglect them. Visiting an unfamiliar place allows me, and others, to see things that locals take for granted. Thank you for the kind words,