Steinbeck Quote

September 03, 2021  •  7 Comments

I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything.
- John Steinbeck
Grain StorageGrain StorageOregon Silos
Somewhere, Oregon

I know little to nothing about silos, or for that matter, any farm machinery or furnishing. And yet, I love photographing silos, old tractors, winding fields of grain or grape and of course the ever present and most beautiful of all, the fence line. 

There's an age old aphorism that you should write what you know; the photographic corollary would be, I suppose: Photograph what you Love. But, here I am writing about photographing subjects I have little interest in or love for, other than, I like to see them in a photograph. They photograph beautifully. 

I've been close to a silo only once. Close enough in fact to look in from the attached barn after having been warned that the dust from the grains can kill you if you get trapped inside.  Warning enough for me to back away an additional step from that portal of certain death. 

To me, there's a curious desire in many of us to photograph the new and different, even the unknown. I am not some bold adventurer, I mean this isn't Everest or the deepest reaches of the Amazon. They're just a bunch of silos I can see from the safety of a major interstate. But for a kid from the suburbs who doesn't know the inner workings of an American farm, they are the unknown.

And, they photograph beautifully. 

Silo Salute
Northeast New Mexico

Farm Gateway
Western Oklahoma

Silo FarmSilo FarmNorth Dakota
Silo Farm
North Dakota

Windmill and SiloWindmill and SiloPaso Robles, CA
Windmill and Silo
Paso Robles, California


Tom Dills(non-registered)
I'm with Monte on the idea of sky. Unless you have an interesting foreground, like the fence and road in the one photo, the wide open skies of the plains and midwest are part of what makes those scenes so photogenic. The use of black and white is excellent here, and I love the contrast in the image with the light colored silos against the darkened sky. Quite nice - makes me want to head back out west.
Todd Henson(non-registered)
Nicely said, Joe. And beautiful series of images. I love the way you see these silos. You bring them to life in a way I doubt I could.
They are more than silos with your vision and skills. I too like the dark skys. Glad you had time to stop on your way to Maine.
Jodie Hulden(non-registered)
Wow Joe. I love all of these. I love the light on the silos and the darkness all around them. And the mysterious skies that frame them from above.
I love silos too and all the things you mention - farms, fences, windmills, barns, weathered farm equipment, dirt roads. And I'm a native city girl. I think for me it comes down to a love of open space, what once was ubiquitous, but is now slowly disappearing, maybe a nostalgia for a more simplified life. But maybe that is too easy an explanation. It comes down to being rooted in the land.
Jeff Hubbard(non-registered)
Wow, Joe - fascinating theme and images. Beautiful idea marvelously executed.
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