Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Photographing the Amish in Wisconsin January 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 11:40 AM
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FOR YEARS, I’VE BEEN fascinated by the Amish. I’m not sure why. I’ve never met an Amish person, never visited an Amish farm. But I’ve read Amish fiction by Christian writer Beverly Lewis.

That fiction likely ignited my interest in learning more about a people who live such a simple life, so different from mine.

If I’m honest with you, I’ll tell you that I also really, really want to photograph the Amish and their way of life and tell their story.

My daughters repeatedly warn me that, “Mom, you’re not supposed to take pictures of them.”

I’ve never quite understood that. I’ve heard everything from an Amish belief that photographs steal souls to a belief that photos are considered graven images. When I googled the topic, I found an interesting article on Amish Country News that seems to support the graven images theory.

Recently I’ve been tempted again by my desire to photograph the Amish. This time the Amish were in central Wisconsin. Twice now my second eldest has seen them in their buggies along State Highway 21 near Coloma. Once at night, the other time near sunset. She knows that if I had been with her, I would have taken photos.

When my husband and I were on that section of highway in early December, I only saw the buggies parked, in a farmyard. I managed, however, by setting a fast shutter speed on my camera, and with rapid-fire clicks of the shutter, to get several images as we drove by. That will have to do for now, until I can return and explore at a horse-trot pace.


Next to the building on the left, I caught my first glimpse of an Amish buggy on this Wisconsin farm.

I continued clicking the shutter as a second buggy came into view behind the building in the middle.

A better view of two buggies parked on the farm place.

My last shot of the Amish farm and buggies, taken from the car as we drove by on Wisconsin Highway 21.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling