Power to the people

I have just received this beautiful book of photographs called The American Barn, made by the American photographer David Plowden.

e2810c_1d6953096f0d4a61842d17aeab971721Farm Near Peotone, 1981

For more than fifty years, photographer David Plowden has documented a vanishing America and continues to produce new exhibitions, books and other publications.


I really like the way Plowden is working with his landscapes, how he captures the large sky over the wide open plains. I also like the way he uses fences, tracks and power lines to signal distance, while at the same time underlining the strange flatness of the prairies.

Of his work Plowden says:“I have been beset, with a sense of urgency to record those parts of our heritage which seem to be receding as quickly as the view from the rear of a speeding train. I fear that we are eradicating the evidence of our past accomplishments so quickly that in time we may well lose the sense of who we are.”


Great Northern Railway, Freight Train West of Havre, 1968



Railroad Crossing, Iowa, 2011

David Plowden was born on October 9, 1932. He attended The Putney School in Vermont and graduated from Yale University in 1955. After working briefly for the Great Northern Railway, he began to pursue his career in photography.
Plowden’s work is currently included in the permanent collection of many art museums, including the Smithsonian Institute, George Eastman House, Center for Creative Photography, Art Institute of Chicago, Library of Congress, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. He currently lives in Winnetka, Illinois.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Rio says:

    nice use of black and white photography, thanks for sharing

  2. His purpose reminds me of Eric Sloane’s purpose: to document “Our Vanishing Landscape” (which is the name of one of his books). And he was already working on documenting these heritage losses–not to mention environment losses–in 1955. Through sketches and paintings, however, not via photos.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Interesting, thank you for mentioning!

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