As a photographer, I use my craft to amplify the voices of women and girls. Through my work with American Farmland Trust’s Women for the Land initiative, I’ve had the honor of spending hours photographing women farmers in their fields, ranches, barns and homes. Agriculture can be physically, financially and mentally challenging, but in spite of it all, these women love their work and lifestyle with all of their being. I kept asking myself, where does this determination and grit come from?
To answer that question, I started my new project, FARMER GIRLS, to share stories that would uplift, engage and highlight the next generation of women in agriculture.I want my daughter and her peers to see more examples of women and girls as agricultural leaders and pioneers, empowering them to find their own path free of historic gender barriers and traditional cultural norms.
This project is also rooted in my long-term project, Grown Up West, in which I document Native American ranchers and rodeo families. I’ve always been inspired by these tough young cowgirls and how agriculture, ranching and rodeo instills a deep sense of confidence, identity and leadership in their spirits. Farmer Girls has served as a bridge to connect my previous series of rancher families and rodeo kids in Montana to my current work with crop and dairy farmers on the East Coast.
My young subjects have taught me how owning animals and working alongside their families on the farm instills pride and independence. Farm kids develop a sense of responsibility that comes from raising animals and making a meaningful contribution. Each morning, many hours before the school bus arrives, these children have already fed their animals, cleaned pens and stalls and completed daily chores. That work ethic and ethos is further developed through youth organizations like 4-H and F.F.A.
What is Next?
I will continue developing this project by broadening the subjects to reflect diversity in American agriculture. The subjects will include various regions, types of farms and a more diverse representation of people.
Interested In Supporting the Project?
I am looking for support and collaboration opportunities from organizations interested in empowering women and youth in agriculture. Please contact me to discuss how we can work together.
Call for Subjects
Do you know young farmers, ages 2-18, who might be good subjects for this project? I will be scheduling shoots in the mid-Atlantic (MD, VA, DC, PA, NC) and NW Montana in 2022. Please contact me to find out more!
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