I grew up on a Texas cattle ranch near Fort Worth, a legendary city for the cattle industry and a crossroads of certain cultural characteristics that are very indicative of the state. Every day I realize how growing up on the ranch influences me and my work, and as a photographer, I’m now more able to record what it is that impressed on me such influence and inspiration. Ranch life is a spectrum made up of small snippets of essential activities. Over the years since picking up a camera, I’ve started documenting these snippets. In doing so, the snippets have grown and formed into a personal project of sorts, much like the ranching life itself.
My brother, Seth, still lives on Meadows Ranch, and he is an embodiment of the work ethic the ranch life requires. Apart from helping out around the ranch, he also owns a hay hauling business in which he transports square and round bales of hay for various farmers, ranchers, and livestock owners in the area. During the summers, Seth can be found in a hay field, throwing and stacking bales on to one of his trailers and relaying them to their destination, usually a barn or store. In the essay, Seth (the guy with the curls) and his friend Jacob load nearly 300 80-lb. bales of hay and transport them to a feed store in Boyd, Texas. Although larger ranch operations are more able to produce hay for their own livestock, the hay Seth and Jacob hauled this particular day is meant for buyers without the number of livestock necessitating large quantities of sustenance.
It’s a hot, sweaty, hay-feverish job, but it’s an essential part of what keeps agricultural production in place. More than that, this type of work has a long tradition and has become a part of Americana that keeps shrinking by the day. This short essay pays tribute to a small vignette of that Americana and to a life that I still consider personally and socially valuable.
Behind the Scenes: A short explanation of the video can be found here:
more from Jerod Foster at jerodfoster.com