New Project: BLACK THORN
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I’m really excited to highlight a new project on my updated website: Black Thorn.
It’s a selection of photos made in early spring at Black Thorn Farm in the Appalachian mountains, North Carolina, with landowners/farmers Seth & Sharon Dubuc and veteran father and son sheep-shearers Jonathan and Ben Hearne. Photographed with Voices of Industry in April 2014.
We spent a week on the farm mainly to document the sheep-shearing for Voices of Industry (Adele used the wool for her fall/winter 2014 collection – read more about that here: http://www.voicesofindustry.com/black-thorn-farm/). We also got to see the hustle and bustle of early spring – new lambs, the shearing, preparing the farm for new crops and a busy growing season ahead. It was an incredible week for many reasons. Seth & Sharon are two of the best people I’ve ever met — they are respectful stewards of their land and the farm is almost entirely self-sufficient. They are hilariously funny, amazing cooks, thoughtful, and obviously very hard working.
One of the things that I learned over that week is that the prevailing idyllic view of the small farmer/landowner is total bullshit. The work is hard, the reality of it all can be brutal, and nature is uncompromising in many ways. We tend to think about these farmers growing organic vegetables and living a “simple life” on a beautiful piece of land … but Seth & Sharon are very realistic about the challenges they face and their lack of sentimentality about it all was really refreshing. I learned a lot that week.
In these photos, I tried to show this as best I could — I attempted to steer clear of cliched images of farm life (something I have very little interest in) and instead hoping for a more nuanced and specific view of one individual farm and its various parts.
See the full project here: http://www.brianwferry.com/black-thorn
Thanks to Adele Stafford, Seth & Sharon Dubuc, and the amazing sheep-shearers Jonathan & Ben Hearne.