I don’t usually use other people’s work to fill out my blog, but this time I have to do it. Not because I am lazy, but because I am really proud of a friend of mine for completing his first book project! I met Peter Felsenthal when he and his wife Jennifer came to a Death Valley workshop a year ago November. Peter had the idea of doing a book on a few small organic farmers in Maine. The thing that makes Peter unusual from the rest of the 99% of us who often get great ideas – is that he actually followed thru and created a really lovely book:
New Growth – Portraits of Six Maine Organic Farms, published by Gray Crow Press in Maine
The photographs are wonderful, and I take no credit for that – although I really should try. Along with the great photos, the book contains stories about each farm written in clear and compelling prose. By the time you get to the end of the book you feel as if you have walked the soil and gotten to know the farmers – Heather and Doug and Rick – all ready for me to drop in for coffee – except they will be shearing sheep, plowing the field, or taking the calf out for a walk.
I am sure that Peter can tell you of all the frustrations, challenges and deep rewards inherent in pulling together a compete project. Anyone who has been brave enough to take a crack at this type of project knows the difficulty of deciding which images stay or go, which words propel the narrative. You wake up at 4am wondering; did I get enough detail shots, did I establish a mood, does the dialogue sound true? Seems easy enough, until you try it.
So, congrats to Peter on not only a job done, but a job done well. Very very well!