When I find time for personal projects, I strive to make a community connection. As an offshoot of my current project, Meet Your Neighbor, where I am getting acquainted with and taking portraits of my immediate neighbors, I am also making contact with farmers on the North and South forks of Long Island.
These portraits capture Long Island 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 my backdrop. To gaze into the eyes of a local 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 demands a lot 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 the East End. When I close my eyes and imagine the shapes and textures of innovation, I don’t see wires and robots and screens. I see them.