Land/People by Amanda Breitbach
These photographs are from a body of work called Land/People, which uses my individual experience growing up on a third generation family farm to speak about the decline of family farming in an increasingly corporate agriculture industry and to describe the loss of a daily, physical/emotional/spiritual relationship to land. The project combines panoramic and aerial images of my family’s farmland in eastern Montana with intimate photographs of family members and domestic spaces.
Large-scale panoramic photographs help viewers experience a vast, immersive landscape, while aerial views of fields, pastures, wildlife and farm buildings installed in a grid reveal attitudes about land ownership and traces of human and animal use. Many of the images are visibly constructed, using multiple photographs with exposed seams and overlapping edges to create a sense of multiple perspectives or shifting truths. By using multiple photographs to create a single image, I suggest that no single view is adequate to capture the entirety of this vast landscape and the complex culture that depends on it. Each image can offer only a piece of the larger picture. Interiors are meant to contrast with the landscape in a number of ways: in scale, intimacy, and in their sense of time and impermanence. A recurring motif of windows connects interior to exterior and also refers back to the framing of the view. These formal elements remind audiences of the subjectivity of the view in general and in these photographs specifically.
My photographs reflect my personal experience as a woman who grew up on a multi- generational family farm and ranch owned and operated by men, developing a deep love and respect for the land while knowing that I would never inherit it. These may be the last images of a farm in slow decline. It is my position as an insider to this culture that sets my work apart from other art about agriculture. By exploring a single farm and family in depth I intend to tell a complicated and specific story, one that reflects the changing nature of agriculture and critically questions its future.
Amanda Breitbach lives and works in Nacogdoches, Texas.
To view more of Amanda's work, please visit her website.