Farm Legacy Photography evolved when Kelly Thorson and her daughter Jess, realized that many families were leaving the farm — some after three generations and a century in the same family. They both enjoy photographing abandoned homesteads and during one photo session they discussed the idea that maybe families would enjoy seeing photographs of their farms where in earlier years they had worked and played.
“Our sessions start with a ‘walk through’ in the company of our clients where they can point out things that have significant meaning and special memories. We shoot anywhere from 300 to 400 pictures, so there are lots to choose from. We gravitate towards the old and weathered, but if that isn’t the client’s preference, we can tailor to their likes. Each photograph in the package is one that can stand alone and can be used for prints, cards or calendars. Collectively in the book they are an artistic visual memory of days gone by. Nostalgia is bound to evoke emotion and they make wonderful gifts for aging parents, grandparents as well as siblings and upcoming generations,” said Kelly.
“We’re both pretty laid back and really enjoy working with people. Sometimes we have short deadlines and the client doesn’t realize the time involved in digital editing and putting the books together as well as the time to have the books printed and delivered. When you are working back and forth with feedback it can be trying, to get things done in a timely manner. Often it is hard for the client to choose which pictures they want included so the process can get drawn out,” said Kelly.
Kelly and Jess both enjoy the creative process of putting the book together but find holding the finished book in their hands the most rewarding.
“I really wish we had come up with the idea five years ago. It is such a wonderful way to celebrate a century on the farm and it seems like so many have reached that milestone in the past few years. There also have been a lot of farms that have left the family in the past few years. Many people who have sold their farms say they wish that they could have had something like this as a keepsake. Those who have purchased the land and buildings have no memories to protect so the old buildings and ‘junk’ have been disposed of,” said Kelly.
The Thorsons say don’t wait to record your farm history. Think about what you would like to record in your book. Are you looking for an artistic coffee table book, or more of a historical recording? If you have old homestead pictures or ancestors’ pictures you want included that can be done also.
“Sometimes people are a bit shy about having the ‘junk’ on their farm portrayed. I think there is a need to lose the embarrassment and revel in the memories of the picnics on the tailgate of the old pickup, the rides in the old wagon or the baths in the old washtub. These objects contain a lot of memories and that is what we hope to capture,” said Kelly.
Kelly was born into an oilfield family which made its home in Trinidad, India and Malta. In 1978 she received her diploma in agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan and along with her husband Jim, has been living the farm life while raising six children. In 1989, Kelly opened Ke-TGrafix, a graphics and sign shop, as a means of farm diversification. She also developed a keen interest in working with a centuries-old process on glass and has started a second venture, Las Mountain glassworks.
Jess, after graduating with a psychology degree, immediately started saving up for her first DSLR camera. Jessie and her husband Rodney decided to make their home in a rural setting near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. She operates her own business Ruby Blue Photography.
Kelly and Jess find their interest in people, cultures, as well as art, architecture and nature are a fitting compliment to their passion for photography. Check out their website at www.farmphotography.ca.
Joan Airey writes from Rivers, Manitoba