Fort Davis photographer documents farm workers; opening reception tonight
March 9th, 2017 under Arts
MARFA—Greasewood Gallery at the Hotel Paisano will present a new exhibition of photography by Caleb Jagger entitled “Farm Workers of America” beginning with a reception for the artist from 6-8pm tonight, Thursday, March 9.
The public is invited, and the exhibit will run through April.
Jagger was born in Austin and moved to Fort Davis as a child. His father, Todd Jagger of Fort Davis, taught him photography on a 4”x 5” camera when he was 17. Caleb attended Temple University in Japan and also studied in Russia and Philadelphia.
From 2004 to 2007, Jagger worked as a studio photographer for Christopher Burke Studios in New York City. In 2008 he moved back to Texas to build his photography portfolio, which includes series on local landscapes, “People of Pecos,” “Workers of Jeff Davis County,” “Ranches,” “Still Lifes,” and “Farm Workers of America.”
Of “Farm Workers of America,” Jagger says, “In the summer of 2014, I visited a cantaloupe/watermelon farm in Coyonosa, Texas. I knew that the fruits grown there were hand harvested but I had no idea how much labor and thought went into the picking of our food.”
Since that experience, Jagger has continued to visit other farms in the U.S. photographing the produce pickers and enriching his understanding of the various harvesting procedures of each fruit and vegetable.
“My main goal in photographing people in the fields is to show my audience that most of our food that comes from the ground requires experienced workers and is harvested by hand. Before I began this project on farms, I knew very little about how farms operate. I was impressed in how grand the operations were in scale and orchestration.”
Health and safety concerns of how are food is grown and harvested has created a complex and regulated process that is today’s farming. Before a person can set foot in a farm that grows commercial food, they must get approval from the farmer, the Food Safety supervisor, the labor supervisor, and the field supervisor.
“The harvesters are paid based on the quality of food they pick and carry, so in taking their photograph I am suspending their pay and production. I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet with very kind farmers, supervisors and harvesters that have been considerate and understanding of my project.”
“I cannot thank them enough, not only for allowing me into their workplace, but for the food that they bring to our plates.”
Greasewood Gallery is located in the historic Hotel Paisano at the corner of Texas and Highland streets. Hours are 8am-8pm Sunday-Saturday. For more information call Vicki Lynn Barge, gallery director, at 432-729-3669.
Story filed under: Arts