Digital Photography
Amanda Breitbach
Nacogdoches, Texas
18 by 18 inches
2016 Paul & Reese Lamb Memorial Art About Agriculture Purchase Award, sponsored by the Lamb Foundation and the College of Agricultural Sciences.

“When I started this project, I wanted to make images that could speak about the growth of corporate agriculture at the expense of family farming and the cost of the industrial agriculture model—to the environment and to people. I also wanted viewers to think about their own relationships to land and our culture’s movement away from a deep connection to the places where we live. To make work that successfully communicated those ideas, I want home.

“My project, Land/People, investigates the decline of family farming and the emotional and spiritual issues that underly the human relationship to land, making larger, universal relationships visible through my family’s and my own experience. The project combines panoramic and aerial images of my family’s farmland in eastern Montana with intimate photographs of family members and domestic spaces. Panoramic images constructed from multiple photographs express the inadequacy of a single view to capture the entirety of a vast landscape and the complex culture that depends on it. Aerial views of farm fields, badlands, cattle, wildlife, junk yards and farm building reveal traces of the past and present, the land as a palimpsest of human and animal use. Interiors and portraits are meant to contrast with the landscape in a number of ways: in scale, intimacy, and in their sense of time and impermanence.

“I am creating what may be the last images of a farm in slow decline. Photographs of equipment that no longer functions, homes that no longer house families, and two aging men doing all of the farm work tell the viewer that the farm’s heyday is past. There are no children in my photographs, because there is no a next generation interested in running the farm. The sorrow and grief in those images are contrasted with the magnificence of the sublime, higher plains landscape. It is my status as in insider to this culture that sets my work apart from other art about agriculture. By exploring a single farm and family in depth I intend to tell a complicated story, one that reflects the changing nature of agriculture and critically questions its future.”

Amanda Breitbach