American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country

Written by NAMA on Monday, May 3, 2010 , 11:40 am

paulmobleyEnlightening Stories Behind the Inspiring Photography
written by Mike Gustafson, Deer’s Landing Communication

Paul Mobley started his presentation with a story explaining how he lost his love for photography, and how he regained it at a small-town coffee shop. There sat four farmers who would change the course of Paul’s life.

Paul had never photographed anything having to do with agriculture before. But these people where so real, so engaging, that by the end of the summer, Paul had taken photos of nearly every farmer and farm family in that county. He pitched the idea of a book commemorating rural America.  His publisher loved the idea, and off went Paul on a four-year, 100,000-mile journey through 37 states.

Paul said, “This book is about people.” And so it is.  Over 270 pages of incredible photographs of people who work the land. Incredible, too, are the stories behind those pictures.

One such story Paul shared was his opportunity to photograph Edna Parker of Shelbyville, Indiana. At 115 years of age, Edna was, at the time, the oldest living person in the world. Paul recounted his time with Edna as a ‘true honor.’

While Paul may have set up and posed his subjects, he says that his best shots came from those moments when people were unaware he was shooting.  Still, it seemed that every photo captured the true character of people in agriculture.

Paul’s book, American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country, contains more than two hundred portraits and forty-five farmer and rancher interviews. A journey through his book is truly a journey through the heartland.

Our thanks go out to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and Elanco Animal Health for their sponsorship of the Closing Session.

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