Playing Farm

An astute reader alerted the PopPhoto.com staff today to a fascinating photo slideshow from the Chicago Tribune Magazine by photojournalist Scott Strazzante. Titled Another Country, the series consists of 29 diptychs made on a Lockport, Illinois, farm owned by Harlow and Jean Cagwin, and the subdivision that was subsequently built on their land.

An astute reader alerted the PopPhoto.com staff today to a fascinating photo slideshow from the Chicago Tribune Magazine by photojournalist Scott Strazzante. Titled Another Country, the series consists of 29 diptychs made on a Lockport, Illinois, farm owned by Harlow and Jean Cagwin, and the subdivision that was subsequently built on their land. In each diptych, the left image was made during Strazzante's many years documenting the Cagwin farm, and the right is an image of the Grabenhofer family, which lives in the subdivision that sprang up after the Cagwin's sold their farm in 2002.

Besides being strong, insightful work, this photo essay is a perfect example of everything a diptych series can be. These are not diptychs to be trendy or to disguise weak individual images, but to convey that third dimension so difficult to capture in a still image: the passage of time. With the left images dated between 1994 and 2002, and the right ones all from 2007, the change they represent is tangible, made moreso by the fact that these individual changes speak to larger societal shifts. The urbanization that has gone on since the Depression; the loss of small, family-owned farms to huge corporate food producers; the ever widening gulf between the food we eat and the place it came from.

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