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Introduction:

The Daily Work of a Dairy Farmer

I recall that every time my cousin, who is a farmer, would call to inquiry about the news (from the forgetful city dwellers that we are) and I asked him the same in return, I would get : “Just the usual,” “Nothing going on, same old, same old,” “There’s a little work on the farm at the moment”... It made me think of the line from Thornton Wilder: “Daily life, daily life, daily life.”

At the end of 2009 we were flooded with news around the clock : the milk crisis, the failure of dairy farms, suicide among the farmers... My contact at the photo agency in Paris suggested that I go get what are called “illustrations” (long shots, behind the scenes shots, etc.) at the farms where I live. This might produce some sales. Making clichéd shots of that type didn't interest me very much, but on the other hand I was eager to discover the so-called “ordinary” world of the farmer.

So with this background and with this aim in mind, I charged up the Tarn to the home of my friend the dairy farmer to photograph him and his wife during their daily work. It was the season of peak milk production and I was struck by heavy load of work, all the sundry tasks for which you must have all kinds of skills. I began calling them “super heros” and we planned to go on with the documentation. This way I could show the work that goes on in the fields in order to feed his herd of forty cows around the year.


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