I find myself back up in the Oil Boom country (the Bakken region) working on assignment. The crazy weather (snow + -20 + wind) makes for challenging photographic situations. But the weather and logistics create a wonderful atmosphere for another installment of On The Road. This project consists of photographs I create while driving to/from an assignment, usually on deadline, that hopefully captures the spirit of the landscape and place while utilizing photography in a novel way.
The DEA did not show up to raid his field earlier this month so Ryan Loflin and a crew of volunteers harvested, by hand, the first major (known) hemp crop in The United States in over 50 years. Ryan quietly amassed the illegal seeds from abroad and planted them earlier this year in about 60 acres of the same land he worked as a boy in a remote corner of Southeast Colorado. In early October, as part of a decision to optimize yield, he opted to harvest the entire crop by hand. Instead of hiring migrant farm workers Ryan turned to twitter and facebook making a general call to anyone interested in participating in this historic event to go to his farm, camp and help harvest. Friday night the crew began to assemble, most camping in tents inside the barn used the following day to store the harvested crop. People came from down the road, and as far away as Idaho and Texas to participate. Saturday morning after filling out an indemnification contract, a breakfast of muffins, yogurt and coffee, Ryan and fellow hemp enthusiasts fanned out across the weedy hemp field plucking the green leafy stocks, now mature and heavy with seed, one by one, pulling out the entire plant by the roots.
Harvest weekend proved to be a visually interesting event full of colorful characters harvesting a crop in the still drought-plagued Southeastern corner of Colorado that directly reflects the changing attitudes and laws about Cannabis and Hemp in Colorado and around the country. And it was all made possible by the entrepreneurial spirit of an enterprising farmer.
I made 3 trips to the farm and hope that the photographs below capture Ryan’s entrepreneurial spirit as well as showcase the undertaking in a visually interesting way.
The 2013 Colorado flood caused catastrophic damage along the entire Front Range, mountain communities, farmland and towns along the South Platte River. Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed, roads and bridges were washed away and several people were killed. I spent an afternoon in Jamestown and a morning in Evans working to create a collection of photographs capturing a slice of the toll the flood inflicted on the people in its path.
An unprecedented week of heavy rainfall across the Colorado Front Range has flooded mountain towns, larger cities, portions of Denver and rural agricultural lands. I wanted to see how the more rural Colorado agricultural areas were affected, especially those situated along the South Platte River. Floodwaters race down canyons in minutes, but it can take days to reach here.
Below are a few documentary style photographs from my trip through the area yesterday.
I spent 2 days on the ground photographing the aftermath of the tornado that tore through parts of Oklahoma City and Moore, Oklahoma on Monday, May 20th, 2013. Below are a handful of the photographs ranging from aerial photographs captured near sunset the day after to residents and volunteers salvaging items of sentiment and value from destroyed homes and views inside Plaza Towers Elementary School.
I have had my new camera, the Fuji X100s, for a short while now and have been rather pleased with it as a camera and the photographs that can be made with it. I took it (and only it) to the 4/20 marijuana celebration in Denver yesterday and made a few available light, documentary style photographs, and a few using off camera flash.
Early morning, struggle to get gear into car – last of the coffee slides off the frozen roof. Thus this trip to South Dakota began but all was not lost; an emergency Redbull stored in the fridge replaced spilled coffee, and my attempt to capture a more ethereal portrait of the landscape seems to have been successful.
I’ve introduced entrepreneur and restaurateur Ryan here: https://matthewstaver.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/a-portrait-of-entrepreneurship/
Below are a small selection of photographs capturing Ryan’s journey through creating and opening DiFranco’s in this quintessential tale of entrepreneurship. I believe they offer insight into this often overlooked process – revealing emotion and risk while weaving threads of the economy, the quest for a better quality of life and community betterment into the seemingly simple process of opening a small restaurant.
This was a self-assigned personal project that has yet to find a good home in print.
I am drawn to entrepreneurship. Being present at the start or early stages of a new venture is exhilarating. The air is so thick with excitement, possibility and mission that the atmosphere changes, thickens almost, and can permeate anyone who pushes into its sphere.
Ryan DiFranco conjured this sort of atmosphere as he created his new restaurant, DiFranco’s. He was gracious and generous and allowed me to be a part of his process, inside the sphere of entrepreneurship. While inside, I made a documentary style picture story that begins to capture and convey this spirit and process of entrepreneurship through the undertaking of opening a small restaurant.
As an introduction to Ryan and this unpublished picture story, here are two portraits of the entrepreneur himself.