American Farmer

The Heart of Our Country

By Paul Mobley (Photographer); Katrina Fried (Text by)
(Welcome Books, Hardcover, 9781599620473, 276pp.)

Publication Date: October 14, 2008

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Description
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.



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