20 years of farming – 10 diptychs
My father was a farmer and I grew up on his pig farm.
The farm dominated our lives, feeding and cleaning 70 sows a job without end.
On Christmas Day we had to muck out before we could open our presents.
The only holiday I remember, a solitary week at the Atlantic Hotel in Newquay.
My school friends were farmers too and, like me, their characters were formed by burden and responsibility.
Strong, tough and stoic, the farm kids were left alone by the local bullies.
When I moved to London to work as a photographer, I missed the structure, ritual and routine of farming.
Homesick and disoriented by the city, I’d return and make portraits of farmers that reflected how my life could have been.
This year, after two decades, I decided to photograph my farming friends again.
Farming is one of the few occupations not to be radically altered by globalisation and the internet.
While most of us in the West feel our lives becoming more chaotic, farming is not only a path of certainty but also a trade.
These men know exactly what they will be doing until they are simply no longer physically able to continue and that is both wonderful and terrifying.
In our 20s we have no idea that we are at the height of our powers.
In our 40s, chastened by experience, we have a creeping realisation that our best years may be behind us.
Hopefully these pictures will exhort the viewer to value what little time we have.