Richard W. Brown’s recently published retrospective—The Last of the Hill Farms: Echoes of Vermont’s Past—showcases the photographer’s most cherished subject: Vermont’s hill farmers. This exhibition, which bears the same name, offers the chance to experience the Vermont that Richard entered and began to photograph in the 1970s.
Fifty years later, the lives, landscapes, and time period he so lovingly captured are available for viewing through these large-format, finely detailed, photographic prints, which were hand-made by the artist.
Exhibit on Display at the Saint Albans Museum July 17, 2019 through October 4, 2019.
The Last of the Hill Farms
Photographs by Richard W. Brown
Ethnographic researchers have long acknowledged that the artistic hand of the documentarian influences how we see the people and places they portray. Richard W. Brown exerts his artistic influence through the aesthetic mastery of the photographic medium. We are shown the everyday lives of Vermont hill farmers during this time period through the lens of intrigue and nostalgia that, in part, propelled Richard’s own excitement and curiosity.
The Last of the Hill Farms is a collection of moments born from the land and the people—then crafted by Richard’s careful hand with preparation, patience, and a bit of serendipity.
Richard’s photographs reflect his fondness for a time when Vermonters earned their livelihoods from the land without much aid from internal combustion engines.
We cannot go back in time, nor truly comprehend what daily life was like from this distance. Yet we can gaze, as Richard did, at the rolling rock strewn hills, the weathered barns, and sun- and wind-worn faces—and glimpse the texture of livelihoods coaxed from an unforgiving, if beautiful, land.