Rural America Documented In Photo Project

By Diette Courrégé Casey — November 28, 2011 1 min read
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Sometimes, we don’t stop to acknowledge the everyday beauty surrounding us.

This photography project on rural America, Few and Far Between, captures some of those scenes with striking power. The gallery includes a few school-based shots, including No. 3 (shot in Everglades, Fla.), No. 19 (shot in Whitehall, Mont.) and No. 19 (shot in Lebanon, Ky.), but it’s not focused on education. Still, the photos seemed too stunning not to share.

Luceo is the group of photographers from sites worldwide who worked together on the collection. They say it’s the first installment in their effort to document the industrial and population changes in rural America.

“We will examine the profound shift in nonmetropolitan areas from agrarian roots to an economy where, presently, no more than 6 percent of its residents remain employed by the agricultural sector,” according to Luceo’s Web site. “This change in industry, however, does not represent an overall repurposing of rural communities. Instead, there has been a slow population decline in farming-based counties throughout the middle states of America offset by significant growth in western states that boast alternative economies.”

Statistics show more residents are dying than being born in rural communities, although the percentage of students enrolled in rural schools grew from 22 percent in 2004 to 24 percent in 2009.

The Few and Far Between project was featured last week on Lens, the photography blog of the New York Times, which highlights its photographers’ work, as well as the best from those working for other media.

The Lens blog offered a few reasons why the Few and Far Between project stands out: None of the images have an individual photographer’s byline (all are credited to Luceo); and the group’s members traveled together in a rented RV for the project.

The photographers involved—David Walter Banks, Kendrick Brinson, Matt Eich, Daryl Peveto, and Matt Slaby—spent two to three days in different towns in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Nevada this August. The project started last year during a trip to Lebanon, Kan., and since has expanded to eight states.

The captions for the photos weren’t showing up on the Luceo site when I checked it out, but they were visible on the New York Times site. Enjoy!

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.