Thursday, July 28, 2011

Land Girl

Shelley walked into Sandy's barn just as I was about to start photographing Ben last weekend.

She loves farms, particularly Sandy's: "The most beautiful place on earth," she calls it. And she loves farm work.

I was a child in the 1940's in England during WW II, living in Kent surrounded by farms. Almost all the work on them was done by women and old men — the women were Land Girls from The Women's Land Army. They stooked the wheat, barley and oats, dug the ditches, fed the horses, milked the cows, baled and stacked the hay and drove the tractors. Above is a Land Girl seventy years on in the uniform of today. And below
is the original.

Shelley is also training to be a nurse.


  1. Love this -- especially the bits of hay clinging to her skin. The sweat is palpable.

  2. Yes and super lighting with just the idea of a barn in the background. I can allmost see the dust particles in the sunbeam.

  3. The lighting is extraordinary. From the front it gives her an arresting glow accentuating her features. The moonlight-like glow from the rear as well, nicely delineates her bust from the ground adding to the overall intensity of the portrait. It's fascinating in this respect how much your portrait is evocative of the woman portrayed in the poster below. Both for instance are presented in stark high contrast, share equally determined expressions, and perhaps most importantly, both look happy with their lot. And given how much Shelley apparently loves farms and farm work I really hope she chooses to remain surrounded by such beauty. Sure we all get older and the work doesn't get any easier. But still, can you imagine photographing her looking this inspired in a hospital? I certainly can't.


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