July 5, 2011 / Photo Shoots

The Heart of the Cornfield

It was summer, and the soaring heat of West Virginia was adding to my agitation as I held my Canon 5DMII with my clammy hand. I had spent 4 hours photographing a family I found driving around in Appa...
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It was summer, and the soaring heat of West Virginia was adding to my agitation as I held my Canon 5DMII with my clammy hand. I had spent 4 hours photographing a family I found driving around in Appalachia – and I still hadn’t got a single magic shot. Right when I was going to give up, I saw through the family’s fence this girl playing in the cornfield. I took to my heels and ran next door. At first, her mom wasn’t interested, but after much persistent begging, she consented to “one” photograph. And that one photograph was magic.

Comments

Catherine can I ask you why you were in Appalachia? Are you from somewhere near there? Also I think I may know why the girls mother may have been reluctant for some stranger taking her daughters photo even a nice non threatening woman like yourself. The people from the hills or deep Hollows are very much to themselves and dont like outsiders. They have had many bad experiences of outsiders making fun of them or portraying them as poor and ignorant as well as dumb hillbillies. The only stories they ever see are the ones that dont put them in a good light. SO this is why most likely the girls mother was reluctant to allow you to take her photo. I am glad to see you only portrayed this little girl in the photo nothing more or less than just a cheerful normal girl enjoying her day like any other kid out there in the US today.

How do you go about asking strangers? Do you offer money? Get them to sign a release?

Hi Michael, I usually try to establish a rapport first – ask them about themselves, and make them comfortable first. Most people are more receptive to your requests when you make an effort to get to know them first.

composition, color, subject…all great. Love this shot catherine!

Thanks, Bret! I love the surrealistic feel of your work, too!

Where in West Virginia was this?

Hi Anthony, this photograph was taken in Appalachia :)

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