One Farm, One Decade
Photographer Dana Matthews and farmer Richard Giles met 25 years ago in the rural Deep South. Between Matthews’ home in Alabama and Giles’ home in Mississippi lies Hale County, Alabama, where Walker Evans and James Agee collaborated to make Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, the indelible document about people struggling to survive in places where food, hardship, beauty and hunger meet. The book left its mark on Matthews and Giles. The realities it documents still describe the lives of small-scale farmers in America today.
Separately and coincidentally, the two came north (Giles by way of Brooklyn, and Matthews by way of Gowanus) and soon found their familiar “South” in the Catskills region of New York State. Giles established Lucky Dog Organic Farm, nestled in the bucolic hamlet of Hamden, NY. Matthews turned her lens toward her friend’s work in progress, and a loving decade-long portrait emerged.
Following in the tradition of Walker Evans, Matthews gives us a glimpse into the realities of farm labor. The collaboration between this photographer and farmer began years ago and now lives on in a new landscape of the local food movement.
All images were shot on film with a Hasselblad. One Farm, One Decade can be seen at Tivoli Artists Gallery September 22–October 15 with an opening reception September 23 from 6 to 8pm.