I'm a documentary photographer in my senior year of college. I feel that as an artist, my gift is my eye. My tool is my camera. It is true that a photograph is worth a thousand words and can affect a world of people with its universal language. I'm in the process of putting together images of farms I've photographed in the past years and continue to photograph. Right now I'm working toward a gallery opening here in New York, but after that I feel that this project can go further. I want it to be printed in as many publications as possible to reach the general public. At a time where the farm bill is being passed through Congress, people need to be educated on Small Family Farms and their importance as they start to disappear off of the map. I would like to be funded so that I can travel out of my region of Southeastern Connecticut to photograph more farmers who are feeling the hurt of being taken advantage of by those who run the milk industry.
I grew up in a quiet corner of Southeastern Connecticut, running barefoot around farms and exploring vast expanses of open spaces. I left home in the fall of 2004 to gain a new life perspective in the metropolitan New York area. The fast paced life did nothing but aggravate me as people couldn't stop to appreciate what was around them. I found myself shocked when New Yorkers couldn't appreciate the stars in the sky or the smell of the grass at the end of the summer. I soon found that nothing made me more happy than being home on breaks roaming around the various farms of the Nelson/ Lewis boys and the Biederka boys, whether it be playing hide and seek in their cow pastures or shooting skeet, those memories I have with them cannot be rivaled by any of my times here in New York.
Sadly, these beautiful gems of land are being eaten up by developers and replaced by cookie - cutter developments of houses and Home Depots. Its becoming harder and harder for farms to earn a dollar for the tough lifestyle that they live. At the time I started this project, John Palmer's farm in North Stonington, CT was receiving $18 per every 100 lbs. of milk. With 400 cows, he would have about 9 tons of milk at the end of the day. When the math is done, it seems that a huge amount of money is being made per day. Once animal costs, property costs, and the cost of maintaining antiquated machinery, however, is factored in there is not much left for the small farmer to profit from in this field of intensive, non stop labor. John Palmer has one of the bigger operations in the state of Connecticut. In the past decade, many dairy farms have sold their herds or turned to raising beef cattle because of the high costs of operating a dairy farm. About one in every four farmers is 65 years or older, according to the Center for rural affairs. When this generation of farmers retires within the next ten years, many family farms will vanish because they will sell their land and cows. These open spaces that the farmers preserve, work, and care for will most likely not be furthered by their families. Although large farms don't sound so harmful, the animals are not as well cared for in most cases and with fewer family farms, there are fewer hidden places of American beauty.
This project is about the farmers who love the land, who will keep preserving it and create clean living for years to come. This is about the people who celebrate and practice the honorable tradition of farming. This is a celebration of America being able to sustain itself and other countries and the hardworking Americans. This is about the beautiful open spaces, and in a time of healthy living, an awareness of where the food is coming from and the greatness of local produce.
This is about eating your own zipcode and supporting local economy.
"These are my people.
This is where I come from" (Rodney Atkins, Country singer)
To see my photographs on their temporary website, please visit