About this project
Art in Agriculture: 15 Photos from 10 Years of Ag Journalism will open May 18 in the exhibition hall of Deux Bayous Gallery in Arnaudville, Louisiana. I could think of no better place to display my agricultural photographs than the farming community at the border line of St. Martin and St. Landry parishes. Will you help me bring the farm to the gallery?
The 15 photos are 16x20 matted images and displayed in black 18x24 frames.
Your contribution will help defray the costs of the printing, matting and framing.
The way it works: you make a cash pledge. (Amazon.com "holds" the money in escrow, so if you have an Amazon account, there's no need to have to sign up to something new). If I reach my $1,000 goal by June 8, your account gets charged. If I don't, you are not charged. Even a pledge of $1 gets me closer to my goal so every little bit helps.
My name is Sam Irwin. In my ten years as a photojournalist specializing in Louisiana agricultural issues, I've crisscrossed the state many times and seen some marvelous things.
As editor of the Louisiana Market Bulletin, I've had the
opportunity to photograph the fruit stands of New Orleans' French Market and the longleaf pines of the Clifton Choctaw. I've shot sugar mills, dairies, rice fields, cotton plantations, Brahmans, thoroughbreds, paints, quarterhorses, combines, cane cutters, cropdusters, wild hogs, roosters, blue crawfish and albino alligators.
Louisiana's agricultural heritage is as varied as our people and our cuisine.
But even in a rural state like Louisiana, people are losing their connection with agriculture. Schoolchildren believe their milk comes from the store instead of a dairy cow. One college student said to me, "Farmers? They still have those?"
Art in Agriculture: 15 Photographs from 10 Years of Ag Journalism photo exhibit will bring the iconic images of the farm to you.
Of course, everyone is invited to the opening. My fellow writer and friend Alex Cook will also be there and reading from his new book, Louisiana Saturday Night. It’s a book about juke joints. The gallery is housed inside the NuNu’s Art and Culture Collective (the old Singleton’s Lumber Yard store). The whole event is part of what NuNu’s calls the Potluck Exhibition. It will be quite the happening. Call 337.453.3307 for more information if you think you will attend.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHS
The images are from my travels across Louisiana, into Kansas & Nebraska and northern Alabama. As an ag journalist I get to go places where most folks aren't allowed. I've been inside poultry barns. I watched artificial insemination. I've been in the stalls of a thoroughbred training track, in pastures full of longhorns. I've been inside an alligator growing house, waded through a crawfish pond and enjoyed the aroma of a catfish processing plant. I climbed a fire tower, been to a forest fire, flew over the Great Mississippi River Flood of 2011, waited out hurricanes at the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and witnessed a exotic animal auction.
Art in Agriculture will provoke a feeling, a memory, a sense of awe that will reconnect the viewer to the pasture, the barn or the tractor. You will be inspired.
...My grandmother had a fence like that........I remember PaPa had to check on those cows every day......The sky looked like that every day that summer I spent with my cousins...Look at those vegetables at the market, I'm getting hungry just thinking about cookin' up a pot of okra and tomatoes...
The beauty of the farm has existed for thousands of years. It could be in the way an ear of sweet corn hangs on the stalk. Perhaps a plump Creole tomato ripening on the vine makes your mouth water. Does the sound of a horse at full gallop quicken your pulse? Can a herd of cattle huddling under a tree as a thunderhead gathers make you fearful?
Why Arnaudville? Arnaudville is a burgeoning arts community and the home of the NUNU Arts and Culture Collective, Festival of Words and Frederick l'Ecole des Arts. Arnaudville is also partly in my home parish of St. Martin. (In Louisiana, we call counties parishes). Arnaudville is also an agricultural community, the perfect setting for an Art in Agriculture photo show.
Elton Courir de Mardi Gras
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