April 26, 2015
Wood Barns & Stone Foundations
In 2008 I had the very unique opportunity to do something new and different. I was invited to show some of my pictures at the Silver Dollar City Festival of American Farmers. What started out as just an idea in January of that year came to a decision point in August - could I make this happen? When I made the commitment I had to ready pictures in two short months. I was somewhat inspired by my own interests and also that of Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University when he took a sabbatical to go to work on a project with Walt Disney Imagineering and Electronic Arts. The name may be familiar to some, Randy passed away in July 2008 after battling pancreatic cancer. He is known, among his other achievements, for his 'Last Lecture' on achieving your childhood dreams.
When I asked what type of pictures SDC was interested in, the response was "some rural photo's". As I tried to refine what kind of pictures that would be, I came across an obscure web page that noted the SDC exhibitors for that fall. Next to my name was 'Photographic Barns'. That was easy, I had a few but needed to get out and get some more.
There were a number of things I needed to learn. Like preparing an image for printing to include color calibration, the best type of printing inks and paper to use and how to mat and frame a picture. I prepared 10 framed prints, 100 13"x19" prints and 1,000 note cards in time for the October festival. While the effort to come up with the prints and cards was a worthwhile undertaking, what I learned is that taking an idea and making it a reality is the greater accomplishment.
I remember selling my first card - $2.00 plus tax. And then another and some more. Unfortunately, I also remember crumpling a couple of credit cards in those old credit card sliders (not my proudest moment). I enjoyed watching people lean in to my framed prints and ask "is that a painting or a picture" I explained my process of taking a photo image and with photo editing software transitioning the image into what best represented how I would have painted the picture, if I could paint. What I enjoyed most though was hearing from those that stopped to tell their stories of growing up or working around a barn. This achievement was not a solo effort. I had the help from a number of people. It was a great experience and one that resulted in new friendships and a continued interest in capturing the old wood barns.
The month long event was capped when the individual responsible for me showing my pictures and her sister, an avid photographer, presented me with a book that belonged to their father - a book of barn photographs from across the country. It is now a treasured book in my library along with their note of its history.
The picture above is a barn located in the Kansas Flint Hills. I stitched six images together to create the panoramic view. To see more of my barn pictures, including those that were shown at SDC - click on the picture above, then click on the first thumbnail to start the slide show.
"You say 'raised in a barn'
like it's a bad thing."
- Author Unknown