What began as strictly a documentary project turned into something else along the way. My life became intertwined with those in the communities I have been photographing. They became my friends, my family. Back in 2003, a photography publication did an article on me and included my statement that I was not an objective observer. That still holds true. Especially here.
In the spring of 2001, I was visiting Miss Lydia. She said I should go next door to meet Miss Sarah. After visiting and photographing Miss Sarah, she had me go next door, on the other side, to meet Mr. Figgs. And so it began, and continues.
He wasn’t out in the field where Miss Sarah said he would be, so I knocked on the door. He had me come into the kitchen, and he explained to me how it was too muddy to be out in the field this day. He had me sit down, and I began to learn about his life, the community and tobacco. He spoke of working with the horses, which he had done for a number of years, but it he had not always been treated nor paid fairly. With tobacco he told me, he could rely and count on himself. He still had a few cows back then and at least 20 acres of land. We talked and I photographed and he invited me back anytime. It wasn’t until July that I made it back, by then the tobacco was already in the ground.
I found Mr. Figgs out in the field with “old blue” as he called his tractor. On this day, Ole Blue was a bit stubborn as far as wanting to keep moving forward.
Mr. Figgs and Ole Blue