This guest article comes to us from Kiritin Beyer, a professional photographer recently featured as one of the “35 Undiscovered Photographers” here on Epic Edits. She wanted to share more of her thoughts and photos from a project of hers. You can see more of her work at kiritinbeyer.com
I spent my childhood growing up on a farm overlooking the valley of the Pyrenees in the southwest of France at an altitude of 3937 feet. My parents have about a hundred sheep and their principal income is the meat. I lived with the seasons and believed my future to be lived out as a shepherdess. That however, was not meant to be my destiny. Nevertheless, years later I went back to begin my project, taking portraits of the last remaining farmers of the Pyrenees, farmers I grew up with, and many that still live their lives in an antiquated style.
I want to commemorate the disappearing way of life of farmers in highland towns of the Pyrenees, France. This particular agrarian lifestyle fascinates us partly for the connection it suggests with the rhythms of nature, partly for the sense it gives of the continuity of life, partly for its implication that we consider cherishing simplicity in an increasingly complex world, and partly for what it tells us about not only where we come from but also where we are heading.
The high-top farms of France are among the last strongholds of a generational tension that has already played itself out in most other Western communities: a tension between the hardscrabble farming life and the siren song of industrialized urban centers; a tension between ancient techniques and modern technologies. Are the fathers—the farmers—merely dinosaurs; anachronistic vestiges clinging naively to the ways of times long gone? Or are they our potential boon-bringers; reminders of all that the new generations—both youngsters and oldsters living in the modern world—have forgotten but ought to revive?
For my project I used many different lights but I only used my old Yashica Mat camera.