Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Study: Aerial Farm Photography

Long before the days of satellites and GoogleEarth, there was awesome aerial farm photography. If my understanding of this one particular sort is correct, private firms would criss-cross an area and snap pictures at a low-ish, usually of the more photogenic views of the farm (focusing on the house rather than the animals' yards, for example) and then you could purchase prints of your spread. To store on the kitchen wall of the same. I love these now, because they kind of look like tilt-shift photography, but I loved these as a child. Loved.

Because it was always seemed like some black and white snap from twenty or more years ago and you'd ask where this barn had gone or what happened to that tree and the residents, or your parents who were the children of the residents thirty years ago, would tell you that that barn caught fire one dusty summer or that tree got some fungus and blew over in a real strong storm.

We have so very, very many ways to preserve memories now, which is wonderful, but something about the rarity of this old ephemera compared to the zillions of iPhone pictures makes them worth infinitely more. When you see these pictures you're either gazing at an ancestor's livelihood or in an antique shop wondering who grew up there and what became of them all.

Like the Spring Grove picture a few days ago, this is similarly inspired. It's a cobbling together of several farms I was familiar with as a child, a bit of imagination, and a whole lot of ignorance about farms, so it's missing the sense of occupancy that these pictures usually had.

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