Thursday, January 29, 2015

In a Field

Cows, July 1989

"STOP THE CAR! STOP THE CAR!" We were on our way north from the city to my sister's place in Caledon when I spotted the herd of cows loitering near the fence of a farm. A year previous I had passed a similar herd posing perfectly on a long slope of grass just by the road in the bright summer sun; it would have been a perfect photo opportunity but I didn't have a camera with me.

On this trip to my sister's the cows weren't as neatly arrayed and the light nowhere as bright and specular, but I had my camera and swore I wouldn't waste a chance again.

Cows, July 1989

Shooting landscapes - and whatever, from my own hopelessly urban perspective, passed for wildlife - became my only hobby in the first couple of years where I was trying to make my whole living from photography. Trips up through the still-undeveloped farmland bordering the city on the way to my sister's place were my chance to see if I could make decent photos that didn't involve people.

A seasoned dairy farmer probably doesn't see any menace in a herd of Holsteins, but to my city kid sensibility there would always be something threatening about a few dozen animals of a few hundred pounds each, especially when a single wild eye came up and looked at you across a couple of hides-to-be.

In a field, July 1989

Most of my shots off this roll are of the cows, but as I was leaving the field on my way back to the car I snapped a few shots of the fencing in the long summer grass. I made a note in china marker on the frame above but never printed it until today. Thanks to a bit of judicious work in Photoshop, it took on something like the detail off to the edge of an Andrew Wyeth painting - or at least it did to me.

The next time I'd point my camera at something that wasn't people, it would be in a different direction.


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