Sandi Haber Fifield: Between Planting and Picking
Text by Leslie K. Brown, Dominique Browning.
Photographer Sandi Haber Fifield explores the quiet moments and unexpected beauty that reveal the simple life of a small farm. Inspired by the rapid ascendency of the local food movement, Fifield has spent the last two growing seasons documenting small farms. From Green Gulch in Muir Beach on the West Coast to Beetlebung in Chilmark, MA; from the orchards along the Mississippi River in Brussels, MO, to the grapes grown on Guy Beardsley's eco-garden in Shelton, CT, she has chronicled many places that, although far-flung, share a tangible spirit that is communicated in the most ordinary of details. She is drawn to the authenticity of small farm life that congregates along the margins in a myriad of cast-off moments: sunlight on muslin seed bags, wooden crates, plastic mesh, buckets, pots, hoses, a lunar planting calendar, quirky signage. The banal details, unsuspecting and unnoticed, constitute a compelling portrait of the farmer who is absent from these photographs, and of the life lived in these places. A rural still life, these pictures illuminate the solitary, homely and authentic quality of life on a small farm. This book includes photographs made on farms, but is not about farming per se; the images are about the quiet moments that reveal the unexpected beauty of small farms through the banal details.
"Farming has always been, and will always be cruelly hard work-even while it is a primal, joyful endeavor. It is this yin and yang of pleasure and pain, work and rest, beauty and utility, tidy and messy, bounty and loss, that Sandi Haber Fifield so artfully captures in the photographs presented in Between Planting and Picking."
Dominique Browning, Writer
"Parting the curtain, [Sandi] Haber Fifield allows viewers to witness what customers normally do not experience at the farm stand or grocers. Along the way, we encounter intimate moments of specificity, stillness, and splendor. …[T]his work explores by lingering, not moving on, and builds a complex vocabulary of visual association. It is photography as a form of planting. Every snap of the shutter deposits a new vision into the world, each with the infinite potential to grow in the minds of others."
Leslie K. Brown, Independent Curator and Educator
"There is a story behind our food. Sandi Haber Fifield's photographs show us that story at its best. We sometimes forget that pleasure and responsibility are linked, and that in work, there can be beauty and joy. Here are pictures of small farms, where food is grown with integrity, and of simple places that are beautiful because of the work that is done there."
Josh Viertel, President Slow Food USA