Apr 28, 2010

The Heart of our Country

This book is amazing. Seriously. While reading it, I laughed out loud, teared up a little and got goose-bumpy shivers about every other page. Sometimes all those things at once... in the middle of a downtown Kansas City Panera Bread. Awkward, but worth it.

Paul Mobley, the photographer of "American Farmer," spoke at the National Agri-Marketing Association on Friday. He had so many incredible stories to share with his photographs. To me, the most interesting story was his. He immersed himself in the world of farmers and ranchers for three years, travelling across the nation to capture the spirit of agriculturalists in print.

Guess what happened after those three years? ...he became one of agriculture's biggest fans! How could he not? We're kind of a lovable group.  
"I embarked on this project as a photographer in search of artistic evolution, and I found it. But the exquisite and unexpected discovery was of a kinder and gentler world and way of life than any I had known before. The agricultural communities of America are made up of modest, hardworking men and women who prize their families, their land, and their heritage above all else," Mobley said.
He captured the stories and hearts of Wyoming cattle ranchers, California avocado farmers, Southern fruit growers, mechanics, cotton pickers, horse whisperers, beet farmers and everything in between.

And by in between, I mean everything in between. I loved that he captured more than just farmers and ranchers farming and ranching. Mobley shared several stories about families who took him outside of stereotypes. "He'd say, 'Oh, let's not talk about farming. I talk about farming all day. Let's talk about motorcycles."
Side note: please don't mind those big blobs of white leg meat
propping up
the book. I don't know who those belong to.

Mobley's photographs and Katrina Fried's writing tell so many captivating, unique, personal stories. Yet the book as a whole tells one common story I wish everyone in the world would hear.

"Like so many of us, I doubted the existence of this kind of goodness in the world. You look around at the ways we treat -- or mistreat -- one another, and it's gotten so out of hand. You want something you can believe in. You ask yourself, where have all the good people gone? Well, I can tell you. Drive up to any farmhouse in this country. You'll find them. They're there."
In short, I really just love this book. Every coffee table should proudly display this book. This book makes me wish I had a coffee table. I'm going to work on that.
Oh, and thinking of photography... my cute baby calf photo made the top ten finalists in the Beef Daily photo contest! I would love, love, love for you to stop by the Beef Daily blog and vote for my picture (it's #5) so I can win another wonderful photography book to share with you! Tomorrow (Thursday) is the last day to vote, so head over there and vote now!

But even more than that, I would love for you to sign up to receive news updates from Beef Daily. It is a news source that keeps a great pulse on what is going on in the cattle industry, whether you are a beef producer, consumer or someone who just like cows. 

Go here to vote: http://blog.beefmagazine.com/beef_daily/2010/04/26/baby-calf-photo-finalists-vote-today/. Then go buy Paul Mobley's book. Then make me an ice cream sundae. With crunchy sprinkles. Please and thank you.

Hey, it was worth a try while I was handing out demands, right?


  1. Really Nice Post. Paul Mobley is an amazing guy and an un-believably talented photographer. I adore this book as well. Check out his cool blog. It's very informative, interesting, and funny! Address is www.mobleyshoots.com

  2. I looked through some of his photos online and loved them! Thanks for the review, I'll have to give the book a try!

  3. Joe -- thanks for the added info. When I heard him speak, I was really blown away by the impact creating this book had on him. His blog is great! And thanks for stopping by here :).
    Heather -- you will LOVE this book. It was made for you. For real.