This Place, These People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains

David Stark, photographs by Nancy Warner. Columbia Univ., $39.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-231-16522-8
Following in the tradition of Walker Evans’s and James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Fellow Men, as well as the Plains homesteader and photographer Solomon Butcher, photographer Warner and her cousin, sociologist Stark (The Sense of Dissonance), provide a richly nuanced glimpse of the once thriving, but now diminished farm life in and around Cumming County, Neb. In 1950, there were about “110,000 farms in Nebraska, their average size a little more than 4 acres. By 2007, the average size of a Nebraska farm had grown to about 1,000 acres, but there were fewer than 50,000 farms.” Pairing black-and-white images of broken-down and abandoned farm buildings with reflections from county residents, this volume captures this sense of loss as well as the deep relationship between people and their land. Asked why she doesn’t abandon her farm and move to town, a resident named Ferny declares: “Sometimes I think about it… but what will I do in town all day? I could have coffee all the time. But what about my animals?” 70 b&w photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/23/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
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Book - 130 pages - 978-0-231-53627-1
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