American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country (Hardcover)
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When photographer Paul Mobley set out to capture the soul of America's farming communities, he discovered a culture defined by tradition, integrity, and hard work, and comprised of the most authentic and generous individuals he's ever encountered. Traveling across the country from Tennessee to Montana, Mobley and his camera were welcomed into the homes of over one hundred farming families, who graciously shared their personal histories along with the fruits of their labor. To spend time with them was to turn back the clock--to an era when there were no locks on doors, no urban sprawl, and no virtue more prized than common decency. Children still move across the street and not across the state when they grow up, and parents move back in with their children whern they grow old. Story after story, visit after visit, Mobley slowly came to know the independent farmer's spirit both from behind the lens and over the dinner table.
The result is a stunning series of portraits and direct quotes that collectively chronicle the life of the American farmer. Each image offers an unvarnished and intimate look inside the hardships and joys of a quickly disappearing lifestyle--one that once defined our national identity and now struggles just to keep a foothold. And even as encroaching cities threaten their livelihoods, these men and women continue to find sustenance in the same basic human values they were raised with. American Farmer is an inspirational reminder of what it means to live with simplicity and contentment, in a world that is driven by excess. This vivid portfolio is accompanied by anecdotes and memories in the farmer's own words that are both a testament to their enduring hospitatlity and a moving glimpse into their daily routines and family histories. But what you will read first, and foremost, are their faces. From Bruce Crump, a citrus farmer in Florida; to Patsy Fribley, a stockyard dealer from Montana; to Thurston Wilber, a Maine lobsterman, Mobley's intense and beautiful portraits capture the furrows of fields lining their brows, the crevices of drought creasing the corners of their mouths, and the grains of truth in their squinted eyes.
35 states included: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming
About the Author
Paul Mobley's successful and varied career as a commercial photographer is firmly grounded in his midwestern roots and values. After graduationg from Detroit's Center for Creative Studies, Mobley moved to New York City to pursue his passion for portraiture. He assisted such prominent photographers as Annie Leibowitz, Steve Steigman, and David Langley before branching out on his own. Since then, Mobley has worked with a broad range of corporate, advertising, and editorial clients, including American Express, Sony, Citigroup, Ford, Compaq, Gourmet, Max Factor, Chevrolet, Microsoft, and many others. American Farmer--his first book--started as a personal project photographing local farmers from his home state of Michigan. It soon blossomed--at the urging of friends, colleagues, and even strangers who saw the portraits--into an ambitious body of work that has now taken him to over one hundred farms and ranches all over the United States. The experience has been profound and life changing for Mobley, whose belief in basic human values has been deeply fortified by the men and women he has met and photographed for American Farmer. He lives in Michigan and New York with his wife Suzanne, and their two daughters Camden and Paige.
Praise for American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country…
"Paul was very captivating, engaging, and charming. I can vouch that people were in line, and the line continued, and continued, and continued. We sold out of all 60 books and could have sold 100. I stood with a colleague and watched as Paul signed books, and everyone who approached him had a story to tell. Paul listened carefully to each and every one of those stories with an open mind, and an open heart, and that drew people to him. You have a star on your hands."
--Todd Foltz, Osborn and Barr, 2010 NAMA Agri-marketing Conference
"Dear Mr. Mobley: I was at Lawrence Tractor in Visalia, CA., and they gave me a copy of your American Farmer photos. I was going to flip through it quickly and get on with my chores. I went through about 10 pages and I had chills. The photos are incredible. I've been around farmers all my life (my Grandpa and Dad were farmers) and I've always admired them and their character and their LOOK. But I've never seen them quite how you capture them. No way will I flip through that book. I will sit down and study and feel the feelings that each one of your photos produces in me. Something that can stir my insides like that is quite simply ART. You have a new admirer."
--Greg Nichols DDS, Porterville CA
"An impressive portrait covering all manner of contemporary American farming and ranching."
"A masterpiece of a book...The pictures are uncannily good, as is the narrative of spoken words from the farmers photographed. This book will get you thinking about what's left that's good about America, and what is precious about human beings."
--Clyde Edgerton, author of The Bible Salesman
"As photographer Paul Mobley shows...there is no better way to get to the heart of farm life than through portraits and stories of the farmers themselves. This collection of photographs, with text by Katrina Fried, tells the tale of farmers across the country, from cattle ranchers in Montana to citrus farmers in Florida."
--Down East Magazine
"[Katrina] Fried transcribes their stories into engaging narratives - the highlight of the book - that present a cross-section of America that is politically active, proud of its traditions but open to experimentation, and often pleased to see college-educated offspring return to the family business."
--Kansas City Star
"The passion and devotion of these people are the true essence in what [Paul]Mobley's pictures express, and what the personal stories, edited by [Katrina] Fried, reinforce. The combination is breathtaking. American Farmer is a richly layered mosaic of brilliant visuals and honest text that honors the farmers and ranchers across America. Mobley's keen vision of the American farmer, and his ability to capture the spirit which each farmer embodies, will impress readers.
"The first portrait collection of modern American farmers and ranchers to be published, [American Farmer] pairs anecdotes and memoirs in an excellent visual and artistic survey."
--Midwest Book Review
"Paul Mobley confirms my theory that the average American citizen, when they spend enough time with agriculturalists, will fall in love with them. He's their best advocate right now. Once he publishes this national photography book, more Americans will get to fall in love with farmers and ranchers...buy this book. It'll be worth every penny."
--Julie Murphree, Public Relations Director, Arizona Farm Bureau
"Paul Mobley does for American agriculture what Ansel Adams did for the American west."
--Erik L. Ness, Director of Communications and Media Relations, New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau
"Paul Mobley has captured something about the American spirit and the people who have been living and working on the land. It's a living spirit that is part of America's future. Paul's work has made the faces of America's farmers and ranchers visible to the rest of America."
--Joe Maley, Director, Texas Farm Bureau
"Paul is an outstanding photographer...and I know this book is really going to be something special...Without a doubt this will likely be the definitive book on the faces of farmers in America."
-Michael Danna, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, and host, "This Week in Louisiana Agriculture"