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 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:  Sara Forrest

Mention the state of Kansas and maybe you draw a blank and wonder “where is that state anyways” or perhaps you think of the history of the state.  The Brown vs the Board of Education case, Bleeding Kansas or even just the arduous drive passing through on I-70.  For me, it’s memories of wading through creek beds, watching the stars on the hood of the car with curious cows staring at you in the moonlight, chewing on summer clover and taking long drives to nowhere, half enjoying the ride and half keeping an eye open for adventure.  For me, the adventure always found me in the tallgrass prairies.  The land is quiet, some folks from the cities and coasts may even claim desolate.  There’s always a coyote scattering on the horizon or a meadowlark keeping an eye on you from a nearby post.  Late afternoon clouds open and close in the sky like a giant house curtain on nature’s stage.

This series of photographs are part of a larger series on family friends and communities in the Flint Hills tallgrass prairies of Kansas.  “Tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres of North America, but within a generation most of it had been transformed into farms, cities, and towns. Today less than 4% remains intact, mostly in the Kansas Flint Hills.” (via  Every spring, prescribed burns snake through the landscape.  Native Americans were the first people to use prescribed fire, as it attracted buffalo to the new grass for easier hunting.  Research has shown that cattle gain more on pastures that have been burned because the old grass and thatch have been removed.  Without these burns, invasive Eastern Red Cedar would choke out the native grass and use up a lot of the water in the soil.  As you walk the prairies you often see buffalo grazing in the distance.

I can not speak to the cowboy way of life, simply because I do not cowboy for a living.  The only way to really get a taste of what that kind of life is like is by getting yourself a good seasoned cow horse, a good mentor and submerging yourself into the lifestyle.  I can throw a rope off my horse and am learning to work cattle, but the demanding, often life or death work in the elements day in and out is not for the faint of heart.  The experience and the opportunity to become friends with and be welcomed into this way of life has not only humbled me, but taught me more about heart, respect, and dedication than anything I have been a part of so far.  These are a few photographs that put a lens behind a typical day of the life of a cattle rancher on the great plains.

To see more of this project, click here

To order prints 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 advertising and in-house corporate industry for decades.  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.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

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