Elliot Ross Reckoning Days Photographs of the American Farmer (17 pics)




For the past year, Elliot Ross has been photographing the world of farmer Jim Mertens. Inspired by the empathetic imagery of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans for the Farm Security Administration , Ross created an essay that examines the relationship between the farmer and the land, giving both characters equal focus in “ The Reckoning Days .&” The grains of wheat and the cracked palms of laborers are given the same attention , depicted in a mesmerizing palette of blues and yellows. “Society is generally removed from the processes in which bread and hundreds of other products reach our baskets,” Ross said . “We must protect, nurture, and celebrate the salt of the earth.”

The second day of harvest is cut short by a supercell blowing in from the West. Colton prays that th

The second day of harvest is cut short by a supercell blowing in from the West. Colton prays that the rain will stray to the South as his wife Lauren looks on and their niece Carlee twirls in her own rain dance.

In a choreographed dance, combines pass one another as they begin cutting a new field.

In a choreographed dance, combines pass one another as they begin cutting a new field.

Deanna, who has lived on a homestead for over 75 years, is ever vigilant of the weather. She looks f

Deanna, who has lived on a homestead for over 75 years, is ever vigilant of the weather. She looks for signs of rain to the South and East.

Cole inspects a grain of wheat for moisture content before the start of harvest. Because of the wet

Cole inspects a grain of wheat for moisture content before the start of harvest. Because of the wet spring and summer, wheat too wet to cut becomes an increasingly stressful problem as July progresses.

Women often times are the bedrock of farming families, offering support and comfort through the long

Women often times are the bedrock of farming families, offering support and comfort through the long hours and intense stress while still performing their daily tasks.

Andrew climbs to dizzying heights inside the new bin that he hopes will soon be full of wheat.

Andrew climbs to dizzying heights inside the new bin that he hopes will soon be full of wheat.

Dressed in their Sunday's best, the Mertens family checks a wheat field before weekend breakfast

Dressed in their Sunday's best, the Mertens family checks a wheat field before weekend breakfast with the family.

A freshly cut field of dry-land wheat lies next to a pasture, unseasonably green on account of the p

A freshly cut field of dry-land wheat lies next to a pasture, unseasonably green on account of the persistent record-breaking rains.

Deanna often looks to the Bible for guidance and assurance through tough times.

Deanna often looks to the Bible for guidance and assurance through tough times.

Harvest suppers are elaborately prepared by the women of the family. The men work in shifts to ensur

Harvest suppers are elaborately prepared by the women of the family. The men work in shifts to ensure the combines never stop harvesting.

Lightning strobes on the near horizon, threatening fields with fire, hail, strong wind, and rain.

Lightning strobes on the near horizon, threatening fields with fire, hail, strong wind, and rain.

Spring brought floods throughout the plains of northeastern Colorado. The results were dichotomous;

Spring brought floods throughout the plains of northeastern Colorado. The results were dichotomous; on one hand they threatened homes and flooded low lying fields but at the same time nurtured the best crop of wheat in living memory.

A semi-trailer is topped off till it’s brimming with the last of the day’s wheat harvest

A semi-trailer is topped off till it’s brimming with the last of the day’s wheat harvest.

Firefighters struggle to contain a haystack fire ignited by spontaneous combustion at a local grain

Firefighters struggle to contain a haystack fire ignited by spontaneous combustion at a local grain elevator.

Chaff, the dusty byproduct of thrashing wheat, catches a ray of light as it’s kicked out the e

Chaff, the dusty byproduct of thrashing wheat, catches a ray of light as it’s kicked out the end of a combine.

Taking a morning off from harvest, three farmers in their Sunday’s best stand in the threshold

Taking a morning off from harvest, three farmers in their Sunday’s best stand in the threshold of the barn for a sermon at Cowboy Church in New Raymer, Colorado.

Combines thrash and toil kicking up dust and spitting out chaff as the sun dips below the horizon.

Combines thrash and toil kicking up dust and spitting out chaff as the sun dips below the horizon.




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