You can tell a lot about the person behind the camera when you step back and look at a photographer’s work. Much of Jason Lindsey‘s imagery is documenting the midwest culture, land, people, and animals. We wanted to delve deeper into why that is.
You have shared that as a teenager, you used to work on a farm, engaging fully in the physicality of the land. So it’s not a surprise to see that you have a portfolio of farm and ranch imagery. What is the draw in continuing to shoot these types of projects?
I love connecting with and telling stories about people that live and work closely with the land. We share so many common experiences and life lessons. It’s like when you see an old friend for the first time in ten years, and the conversation picks up where you left off. It reminds me of my childhood growing up on the land and working on farms. I enjoy “Salt of the Earth” people, and I love telling their stories.
The definition of a farmer is broad these days. What are you trying to show and define when shooting agriculture imagery?
I am trying to tell an honest story about humanity and the person behind the farmer. What do they feel? What do they love? Why do they do it? I often find they have one of the truest multigenerational family stories left in America. I also love that they are so proud of what they do. I feel too many people have lost the passion and pride for what they do.
The imagery of horses is a recurring subject for you. Is there a story behind this?
I have always loved the beauty of horses, and I still remember the first time I photographed horses on assignment at a ranch in North Dakota. I spent three days photographing horses working cattle, going on rides, preparing their tack, and running from pasture to the barns. It was magical! I instantly fell in love with horses, the horse culture, and the passion with which the ranchers took care of the horses. And I almost fell off a horse when riding it for a photo. As we walked through the prairie, I had my hands on my camera and had let go of the reigns. Something spooked my horse, and it took off at full speed. I barely held on, and after 100 yards, he slowed back to a walk. Somehow that experience made me fall in love even more because my respect for their real power was greatly magnified. Today when I photograph from on top of a horse I always have one hand on the reigns 😉
You’ve talked about your desire to preserve lands and the fact that you have a green studio. Is there something you are trying to safeguard in your farming or agriculture imagery?
I certainly think urban sprawl is an issue and would like to see open farmland preserved. I think as much as anything though it is about safeguarding a way of life living close to the land.
You are an empathic, determined creator, and it is evident in your work. This empathy extends to animals and land too. Why is that?
I have been thinking a lot during the COVID-19 shutdown and have come to realize I have been seeking nature from early childhood, to escape and find peace. Once I have calmed down from the stress, I can see much more clearly to address the issue. I want to protect animals and land for myself and others. I want to share that with others, and I find that empathy is the natural way I tap into people and places to understand them and feel them. Once I do that, I can express that feeling more fully in my photos and hopefully make it easier for others to do the same.
Follow Jason on Instagram to see more imagery giving us his vision through empathy.