I grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and left the state as soon as I graduated from college. I lived and worked in California and New Mexico and travelled extensively. In my thirties I returned to Pennsylvania and used it as a base to travel for photographic trips. In 2000 I was driving back from New York after flying in from two weeks photographing in Greece and as I got closer to home I was struck by the intense beauty and texture of the landscape right in front of me: the farms and fields and unique landscapes here, including the tiny family run coal mines; the Amish, whose farms are right beside mine and are my closest neighbors; the individual personalities of the different farm animals; the old growth ancient forests, and the creeks and mountains. Concentrating on my immediate area I photographed what I was now seeing with fresh eyes. Once I started showing these photographs I realized this 'home-blindness' had affected my world view, making the lure of the exotic overshadow what was right here.
In 1975 a small community of Amish from Lancaster County moved north into the Lykens Valley, where land was cheaper and population numbers had declined as young non-Amish left the area for school and work.
Amish neighbor children Dorothy and Mary playing in the newly cut grass. Dorothy decided to bury her sister
Amish neighbor children Dorothy and Mary playing in the newly cut grass. Dorothy decided to bury her sister. The sunglasses were bought from yard sales by their mother
Dorothy raking the grass
Amish kids on scooters going home from school
Mennonite children waiting for the school bus
Amish neighbor getting jars of jelly
Amish often have chest freezers located in the basements of their English (non-Amish) neighbors. They pay a small rent for the electricity use
Amish neighbor Dorothy and her pet pony Blackie
Miniature horses and small carts are used by Amish children to learn skills they need for using buggies
Dorothy and her sister Mary
Dorothy and the Glasses
Dorothy playing with a pile of sparkly sunglasses her mother bought at a yard sale for the girls to wear while doing gardening and yard work
Dorothy and the Duck
My Amish neighbor Dorothy and her pet duck. I was visiting the farm to see her father and photograph some of their sheep when the children began showing me their various pets. I asked the father if he minded me taking a few photographs and he agreed.
Three Amish boys walking home from school in the fields across from my farm.
Coming Home From School
One of my neighbors driving past our farm, having picked up their children from the one-room schoolhouse just up the road
The land this small cemetery is located on was owned by my great grandmother. The cemetery is located directly across from our farm.
Farm Road, Mahantongo Valley
My Grandmother's Farm
Anthracite coal in the snow
Corn in Winter
High School Football
Spectators at Football Game
Parking Lot, Gratz Fair
Spectators, Gratz Fair
Funnel Cakes, Gratz Fair
Tall Cedars of Lebanon Lodge's stand at the Gratz Fair