On Curation and “Fine Art” Farm Photography


One time when my youngest was little (but big enough to clean up after herself) she refused to straighten up her room. After battling wits and wills with her to no avail for hours I finally laid out the old you-will-clean-it-up-by-this-specific-time-or-it-will-be-donated-or-tossed ultimatum. The deadline she was given came and went and after I had spent at least an hour bagging and boxing up all her things and hauling them out of her bedroom she met me in the hallway on my last load, “It’s okay, Mommy. I didn’t want those stuffs anyway.” She grinned innocently and I almost went stark-raving mad right then and there.

To this day, she is impossible to motivate. If she wants it, she will get it — whatever it is. She is not afraid of hard work, or taking risks, but she will do it on her time. No amount of money or bribery or punishment makes any difference. She is equally difficult and rewarding to parent. And though I guess you could say that about most kids, both her difficult and rewarding come in super-sized portions due in no small part to her very particular set of motivating factors. Most of which I still do not understand myself.

Another time, when I told her, “your room has to be clean by lunch,” she went on a hunger strike. “I’m not that hungry anyway,” she told me, meal after meal.

I tell you this, because over the years several regular readers have requested the option to buy prints of my photos. The reasons I have not made them available before are numerous, but probably mostly excuses which I realize are both unreasonable and boil down to “it hasn’t felt right.” The apple never falls far from the tree, is what I’m saying — even if it bounces a few times on landing. There is no denying that child is mine; I understand her, because my own set of motivators is often just as internal and ambiguously defined. But then, last week, as I walked by an empty wall in our hallway — ironically one right outside her bedroom door, as well as one I have been meaning to cover with a curated collection of photos — I had an idea that finally made print sales “feel right.”

I am a firm believer that, done right, curation takes time. Well-executed curation cannot be rushed, nor is there a substitute for it. It’s why some of the most amazing homes are so often the eclectic result of a lifetime of curation; a living testament to the owners over many years. It’s also the reason my photo wall hasn’t come to fruition yet. I keep trying to force myself to sit down and go through all my files and put together a cohesive, finished, whole-wall-worth of photos. That’s not curation; it’s torture.

So here’s what I’m going to do: approximately every quarter, I’m going to choose three photos for my wall. I’ll name and number them and make them available to you too. Each season will bring a new series of three photos curated for my own collection and yours too. And at the end of each quarter the chosen series will be retired. You can buy 8″x12″ prints of just your favorite photo(s), or you can buy all of them in either 4″x6″ or 8″x12″ size and follow along each quarter to create a full limited edition collection. The common thread running through them will be a theme of “rural life.” Barns, livestock, farm dogs, fields, gardens, homegrown food, fairs, equipment, Americana… they will be the best and my most favorite. Series one is available now on the newly created prints page. Enjoy!

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