The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. In this new revised thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Please DO NOT send me your work. I do not take submissions.
Today’s featured artist: Lise Metzger
About six years ago, at a particularly isolated time in my life when I had less photo work and more domestic responsibilities as a single mother, I asked a farmer if I could photograph her. I’d been interested in all things food for many years, stemming from serious intestinal issues that started an exploration into how the food we eat and the way it’s raised and distributed impact our health. It’s not a new story that our industrialized food system is not serving us. The American system of mass production and the food policies that subsidize that system have created an unhealthy diet using unsustainable methods. Cheap, over-processed food poisons our bodies, exploits our animals and food workers, degrades our land, pollutes our water, and depletes our natural resources.
Such an inquiry into food, naturally, leads to the farmer.
So I started to visit Shannon’s farm to make pictures but also to hang out with her—to inhabit another woman’s life for a brief while and escape my own. The shooting I was doing was so unlike the work I was known for. It was just Shannon, me, and my camera. No styling, no lights. Just life as it was happening. I kept the work private for a very long time, because it was something I was doing just for myself.
I was curious about other women who took up the hard work of farming, and I wondered if there were many of them. Little did I know. One of the fastest growing demographics in the U.S. is women farmers, and they are more likely to pursue a kind of farming that really interests me: sustainable (organic, whether certified or not), small scale, independent.
I began to photograph more women. Each one has a rich story and a depth of knowledge about growing and raising food and is pursuing her vision of a life with meaning and purpose. The need to share each farmer’s story—in words as well as photos–was strong, and in 2016 I launched Grounded Women as a blog.
Life makes sense to me when I am on a farm; I feel centered and healthy. But farming isn’t a choice many of us want or can make. I share these stories of real women growing real food to inspire us all to create our own authentic life, to have our own healthy relationship to the earth and food, and to do our part—as each of us can—to heal our planet and ourselves.
To see more of this project, click here.
APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s. After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty. Follow her at @SuzanneSease.