Living Portrait Series- Kelsey Green Part 3


The Asheville Citizen-Times continues its Living Portrait Series look at my friend, Kelsey Green. Here is the link to the Citizen-Times website: This week I've included the whole piece on my blog instead of simply linking to the Asheville Citizen-Times, but that link is:

Kelsey Herding the Sheep to the Barn for Worming, PawPaw, Madison County, NC 2014

I have a strong drive. And I think my mom was a big influence in this. When you say you’re going to do something, you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to pursue it. It’s something I might be good at, but it’s also something I’ve been working on for a long time, doing the things that I say I’m going to do from start to finish. See things through. It’s something I struggle with as well. If I have a dream or a vision and I feel in my heart that’s where I’m supposed to be, that’s my destiny, then that’s what I’m going for and that’s why I am where I am.

The first time Tommy and I connected we were sitting on a rock behind his house and I thought he was so cool because he lived in the nasty Redmon house that had no electricity or running water and he was pooping in a bucket. He was considered a “dirty boy.” I thought it was really cool and I thought that’s the direction I want to go. You don’t need running water. You don’t need a flushing toilet. We sat down on a rock one day and told each other what our dreams were and what we aspired to do with our lives and they were very similar. We wanted to be able to grow our own food and be self-sustainable. Live off grid and do whatever it takes and work for it. Work for the things that you need to survive like your food and your water.

We’re both working really hard to make this dream we aspire to become real – it does cost money. The process of buying this raw land, it would almost be easier if the s___  hit the fan and we didn’t have to go to work every day and we joke about that. Sometimes we wish it would hit the fan and we could do barter and trade and work for other people and money wasn’t involved. We could actually make this thing happen more quickly, this vision. But as of right now, it is costing money so we work hard to earn what we need to not only feed ourselves and pay bills, but also to continue to put money into our place to make it so we don’t have to do that. Set ourselves up.

I think in the back of my head I had this vision and it wasn’t as clear as it is now. And going on the road trip and the lessons that I’ve learned have made that vision more clear. And now it’s a picture that I’m trying to paint and I’m in the process of painting that. It’s a twenty-year plan. It’s going to take me twenty years to paint this picture, but in twenty years I’ll get to sit on my porch and look at what I’ve created.

Kelsey Worming Sheep, PawPaw, Madison County, NC 2014


Evidence of Ewes Unseen

With thanks to Marianne Wiggins and Jamie Paul

Two images depicting the same scene – one done digitally in color, the other made with medium format film (2.25” x 2.25”) in black and white. The scene – pieces of sheep wool caught on a barbwire fence surrounding a pasture. The sheep use the fence as a scratching post. Both images are sharp with the wool and wire isolated against an out-of-focus background. Both pictures are about time, which is represented by the slight movement of the wool in the wind. Neither image reveals any noise – pixels in the case of the digital picture or grain in the film print. The questions for this photographer are: is the black and white image, because it’s made with the more labor-intensive, hands-on medium of film, more a photograph than the electronically produced color picture? Or are they simply different approaches to the same scene that contain the same photographic properties – an external reality, attention to detail, a concern with time, or the unique way photography frames its subjects?

For me, a photographer with forty years experience with film, who was never enamored with the darkroom experience, the difference matters little. The content of the picture has always been more important than how I get there.