In many ways, this is what we have been working towards – the exhibition of portraits of Yorkshire Dales farmers alongside images of the Yorkshire Dales, and writing reflecting what the farmers have shared over the past year. It felt really good to get all the pieces in place, bringing together Rob’s black and white portraits, and some of his colour shots, with images taken by volunteers who have joined the project.
Each portrait is accompanied by a short excerpt of text which is a selection from the longer interview that has been carried out with every farmer. There are also longer pieces of writing reflecting on farming and landscape, as well as poetry. And there are two ‘listening stations’ where you can settle in and listen to farmers talking.
There is a selection of longer pieces to read, in the exhibition hall, if you’re interested, and the interviews in full (audio and transcribed) will be archived in the Dales Countryside Museum and also at the University of Leeds.
A really exciting addition to the exhibition is the collection of pencil drawings by Steve Mason, and digitised artwork by Rachel Waller (featured in the last post). And we have a selection of work by Marie Hartley in one of the cabinets, so you can get up close to some of her woodcuts, take a look at her published books and her notebooks, and see photographs taken by her.
While the landscape has changed very little since Marie Hartley’s time, a lot has changed in farming. This exhibition, through sharing the voices and viewpoints of farmers from across the Dales, sheds some light onto what has changed, what’s stayed the same, and what drives farmers today, qualities that perhaps aren’t so different from the passions and sense of commitment that drove their parents, and their parents before them.