LIKE MOST PHOTOGRAPHERS, I shoot a seemingly infinite number of images. That can lead to forgetting photos filed in my computer.
But then one day—as in Thursday—I was asked about an image in a file I hadn’t perused in a long time. A Californian wanted to use a photo of an elderly man, presumably a farmer or a retired farmer, in a PowerPoint presentation for a nonprofit. I shot the image at the Rice County Steam and Gas Engine Show as the man walked past the wheel of an old Rumely steam engine.
The West Coaster needed the photo to emphasize the point that farmers represent only two percent of the population and their average age is pushing 60. I didn’t fact-check those statistics. But I did check out the nonprofit before agreeing to her request.
This inquiry led me to sift through two folders full of photos from the steam and gas engine show. Within these files lie images that, alone, wouldn’t be enough to comprise a blog post. But, pooled, they make for interesting content wherein I raise some questions, point out the unusual and share memories.
I present to you then the forgotten photos. Feel free to comment. I’m quite certain you will have a few thoughts to share once you seen the featured subjects and read my words.
PHOTO A: What have we here, dear readers? Look to the left and scan to the right and you see horns on a wagon, a lawn tractor and an apparently handcrafted tractor. What is the meaning of this?
PHOTO B: Unfortunately, dear readers, I do not need you to tell me that this is a fly strip. Because I grew up on a dairy farm, I am quite familiar with this gross, sticky fly catching strip. One hung in our farmhouse porch where filthy chore clothes and manure-laden buckle overshoes lined the walls and floor. Another fly strip dangled over the Formica kitchen table as a rather unappetizing
bit of home decor fly trap. But at least it kept the flies off our dinner plates.
PHOTO C: Two questions: Why is a chemical company publishing a cookbook? Can anyone tell me anything about Heinrich Chemical Company of Minneapolis?
PHOTO D: Did you play with a cap gun as a child? I did. I played “Cowboys and Indians” with my siblings. I know that phrase is not politically correct today, but I was a child of the 1960s, the time of westerns. I watched Gunsmoke and Rawhide on television. And if we’d gotten more than one channel on our black-and-white T.V., I would have watched Bonanza, too. And, yes, I do remember life before television.
PHOTO E: After a quick online search, I failed to find another Massey Ferguson Ski Whiz snowmobile like this one. My husband and I have concluded that this double-seater was handcrafted from two machines. What do you think?
PHOTO F: This image spurs an observation. See how the wings on the Dekalb sign align with the Oliver making the tractor appear to have wings? I did not plan the shot, did not even notice what I’d composed until after the fact. I know that Dekalb symbol well as I detasseled corn for the seed corn company and my dad grew Dekalb corn. Any experienced corn detasselers out there?
THERE YOU HAVE IT. A few photos to possibly bring back memories, prompt discussion or simply amuse you.
© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling